Lorenzana: Pag-asa Island projects may take some time to start
Development projects on Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea cannot begin immediately as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has hoped for.
“Matagal pala ito kasi we need some biddings again because we have to follow the requirements,” he told reporters on Thursday on the sidelines of an Air Force symposium held in Taguig City.
The defense secretary said officials would have to renegotiate some of the contracts that they had entered into.
“Too many years ago may kontrata na dyan to repair yan,” he saidl “But binubuhay natin yung kontrata because the company that had the contract – Luzviminda Corp. – is still there and they are willing to undertake the project.”
Last April, Lorenzana, along with top military officials, visited the island, the biggest of the Philippine claims in the Spratlys (Kalayaan) Island Group. He promised to make it a tourist destination and announced that construction would hopefully start before the rainy season begins in July.
During his visit, he said a beaching area would be built first so the construction materials for other projects could be delivered by ships.
Aside from new facilities, Pag-asa, which is the only island in the Spratlys inhabited by civilians, also needs to have its 1.3-kilometer airstrip repaired.
The government hopes to improve its other eight detachments in the Spratlys.
China has protested the Philippine government’s plans as illegal. But the projects will still push through. /atm
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