PH to begin facilities upgrade in Pagasa Island soon – Lorenzana
1:52 pm | Tuesday, January 9th, 2018
Pagasa island spratlys south china sea west philippine sea

This July 20, 2011 file aerial photo, taken through the window of a closed aircraft, shows Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines. (AP FILE PHOTO/Rolex Dela Pena, Pool)

The Philippines will soon start the development of Pagasa Island (Thitu Island) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ New Year’s Call, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the upgrade that will begin early 2018 includes the improvement of the runway and construction of a beaching ramp.

“The developments are to improve the facilities there in Kalayaan Island Group (KIG). First in Pagasa, we are going to improve the runway plus the beaching ramp. We’re going to build facilities for our fishermen,” he said.

Pagasa Island is the largest of the nine features of the Philippine claims in the KIG, also known as Spratlys.

Lorenzana said the runway was important to allow Philippine planes to land “anytime of the day.”

“What’s happening in Pagasa, we can only land after five days of continuous sunshine. We will improve para all-weather na we can go there anytime,” he said.

The Rancudo airfield is an unpaved 1.3-kilometer airstrip that is dangerous for landing big military planes.

Lorenzana also believes that China will not protest the developments that will be made by the Philippines.

“I don’t think they would protest our purpose. It is for our fishermen, for peaceful purposes,” he said.

The two countries have contesting claims in the West Philippine Sea, but the ties of both countries have improved under President Rodrigo Duterte.              /kga

Tags: Defense , Pagasa Island , Secretary Delfin Lorenzana , Thitu Island , West Philippine Sea

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