A Philippine flag was hoisted at the Y’ami Island, which is also known as the Mavulis island in one of the five unoccupied islets in the northernmost island of the Philippines wherein Lieutenant General Romeo T. Tanalgo, of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), led the flag raising ceremony at exactly 12 noon on April.
The maritime awareness activities were held amidst growing tensions caused by China’s excessive claims in the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea, including Philippine territory, as well as in support of the local government’s call for help in transforming the islet into a resting place and a shelter area for Filipino fishermen.
The flag raising ceremony was also conducted by the personnel on board the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF 16), together with the soldiers, local police, fishermen, and other stakeholders. near Y’ami Island, also participated in the ceremony.
Lt. Gen. Romeo T. Tanalgo said that “This is Mavulis island, we raised the Philippine flag here at exactly 12 noon when the sun (is) at its brightest, We assert our sovereignty on this northern frontier of our nation.”
He said, “the purpose of putting up our flag is to assert our sovereignty, to let all the people know that this is (part of) our country.”
“We intend to protect this island. This is the shelter of our fishermen, this is not aggressive, this is just asserting our sovereignty. Our mission of the armed forces is to protect the people and secure the sovereignty of the state.”
He said “Instead na tayo makinabang sa resources natin nakikihati pa sila (foreign poachers),”
“So I am very hopeful that the hoisting of Philippine flag on Mavulis island can do a lot to address the problem of foreign intrusion here in the north,” Tanalgo added.
Y’ami Island is also known as Mavulis. Itbayat Island is one of the six municipalities of Batanes with a population of almost 3,000 in five barangays. – Jason E.