Tuesday, January 16, 2018

PHL to build seaport on Spratly Islands to bolster its claims

Image courtesy of TheWorld Facebook Account
  • Pag-asa island located in Spratly islands is now being planned by the government to establish a P450-million seaport
  • The Pag-asa Island is the western part of the Spratly archipelago which has been a subject of dispute by the Philippines and other claimant countries
  • Rep. Johnny Pimentel also asked the Department of Energy to look for possible ways to energize the 37.2-hectare island with the use of stable renewable source

The establishment of a P450-million seaport on Pag-asa island located in the disputed Spratly islands is now being planned by the Philippine government “to bolster the country’s claims in the West Philippine Sea.”

This was disclosed by Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel of the Committee on Appropriations saying that the funding for the said project has already been included in the 2017 General Appropriations Act recently approved by the House of Representatives

According to Pimentel, the seaport, which is located 518 kilometers northwest of Puerto Princesa in Palawan City, would be under the Department of Tourism’s aggregate P3.98-billion for maritime sector program.

In his report submitted to Congress, the lawmaker noted the importance of seaport on the island saying   “it would  improve accessibility to the area which will certainly encourage human settlement in the remote Philippine island that only have more than 400 residents, mostly fishermen, ” as disclosed in a GMA report.

The Pag-asa Island is the western part of the Spratly archipelago which has been a subject of dispute by the Philippines and other claimant countries.

In July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, has ruled that China did not have exclusive rights over the disputed Spratly Island following the failure to provide legal basis to support of its historical claims.

Pimentel, a member of the House Committee on National Defense and Security, is also considering the putting up a research station on Pag-asa Island to be initiated by the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

Likewise, he also asked the Department of Energy to look for possible ways to energize the 37.2-hectare island with the use of stable renewable source. “As of now, only 75-kilovolt-amp generator set supplies some of the electricity needs of the island,” Pimentel said.

Occupied by the Philippines since 1970, the Pag-asa Island, which is surrounded by shallow coral ranges, is being protected by a small military detachment.

 

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