Duterte orders AFP to improve military facilities in the Spratlys
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to improve its facilities on the disputed Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Saturday.
In particular, Lorenzana said the President wanted the 1.3-kilometer runway on Pag-asa Island paved. The island has been described as the country’s “unsinkable aircraft carrier” in the Spratlys.
“The President has an order that, on Pag-asa Island, the facilities should be improved,” Lorenzana said.
At 37 hectares, Pag-asa is the biggest island occupied by the Philippines in the Spratlys. It is 34 hours away by boat from Rizal town, in Palawan province.
Lorenzana said the President also wanted to improve other facilities in reefs and islets controlled by the Philippines in the Spratlys.
The government intended to construct a port in southern Palawan, and put up an installation on Benham Rise in the western Pacific to assert the country’s sovereign rights over the area.