outbrain
Close  
LOOKING AFTER FILIPINOS ON ISLAND

Palace defends DND officials’ visit to Pag-asa

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana tours the Philippine-claimed Thitu Island during his visit to the Spratlys Group of islands off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines Friday, April 21, 2017.  The visit Friday was aimed to assert the country's claim to the heartland of a disputed area where China is believed to have added missiles on man-made islands. The South China Sea issue is expected to be discussed in the 20th ASEAN Summit of Leaders next week.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana tours the Philippine-claimed Thitu Island during his visit to the Spratlys Group of islands off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines Friday, April 21, 2017. The visit Friday was aimed to assert the country’s claim to the heartland of a disputed area where China is believed to have added missiles on man-made islands. The South China Sea issue is expected to be discussed in the 20th ASEAN Summit of Leaders next week.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Malacañang on Sunday said top defense officials visited Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island in the heavily disputed Spratly archipelago last week as part of the government’s work in looking after its citizens there.

China, which claims almost all of the South China Sea, protested the visit to Pag-asa by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año on Friday.

ADVERTISEMENT

“[It] is part of the efforts to improve the safety, welfare, livelihood of Filipinos residing and living in the municipality of Kalayaan, which is part of the province of Palawan,” Abella said, referring to the island group in the Spratlys to which Pag-asa belongs.

Commenting on China’s customary challenge to Philippine aircraft flying over the area, Abella maintained the the Philippines “has long been undertaking customary and routine maritime patrol and overflight in the West Philippine Sea, which are lawful activities under international law.”

FEATURED STORIES

“Such flights will likewise enable us to reach our municipality,” he added.

The West Philippine Sea is part of the South China Sea within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.

During his visit to Pag-asa with Año, Lorenzana announced that the government would spend P1.6 billion to turn the second-largest island in the Kalayaan group into a tourist destination and a marine research center.

He said the government would repair the airstrip on the island and build a fishport, radio station, power plant, desalination plant and ice plant there.

Glad about the government’s plan, Sen. Sonny Angara urged fellow senators to approve his bill that would transform the Kalayaan island group into one of the major tourist destinations in the Philippines. Angara filed the bill last year.

“With its impeccable beauty, the island is an ideal tourist destination … the rich biodiversity and truly Filipino heritage truly reflects the beauty of a paradise that our country should be proud of,” he said in a statement.

Pag-asa Island is located 480 kilometers off southwestern Palawan. It’s the only Philippine-occupied island in the Spratlys that is inhabited by civilians, mostly families of soldiers stationed there.

ADVERTISEMENT

Read Next
EDITORS' PICK
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Pag-asa Island, Philippine news updates, Spratly archipelago
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.