Sovereignty marker placed on Panguan Island
PANGUAN ISLAND MARKER Members of the 2nd Philippine Marine Brigade and Barangay Datu Putih officials in Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi display the Philippine flag in front of the sovereignty marker on Friday, December 24, 2021. The marker means residents on the island is entitled to the same rights and protection as those prescribed by the Philippine Constitution. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
CITY OF COTABATO: The Philippine Marines have placed a sovereignty marker on Panguan Island, Barangay Datu Putih in Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi a day before Christmas, Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) announced on Wednesday.
WestMinCom spokesman Major Andrew Linao said Panguan Island is one of the “last island borders in the southwest of the Philippines.”
He said the island was once used by kidnappers, smugglers and other lawless groups until it was secured by government forces in 2017.
Today, the island is home to a community of 80 households from the Sama-Badjao tribe whose children are educated by civilians and soldiers from the Navy detachment stationed there.
Planting of the marker was led by the commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade, Brigadier. General Romeo Racadio.
âAs an exercise of sovereignty, the marker demonstrates that the maritime element and its inhabitants belong to a single country. The local government must place one, because Panguan or locally called ‘Panggungan’ (safe resting area ), is too far from the seat of the provincial government, but close to another foreign location, âRacadio said.
In October 2021, a sovereignty marker was also installed on Bakkungan Island (Grande), Municipality of the Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi.
âOver the coming months, local provincial and municipal government units in Tawi-Tawi Province will continue to support and collaborate with the military to place more of these markers on other islands located in marginal areas of the province. in order to define the expectation that the residents of these places have the right to the same rights and the same protection as those prescribed by the Constitution â, added Racadio.