P450-Million Port to Rise in the Kalayaan Island Group (Spratlys)

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President Rody Duterte will be the first President after Pres. Marcos to make a major infrastructure developments in the Kalayaan Island Group, part of the disputed Spratly islands in the West Philippine Sea.

The Duterte administration will be building a P450-million port project in the Spratly Islands, it will be located at Barangay Pag-asa in the Kalayaan Island Group which is considered as the country’s smallest municipality.

The Kalayaan Island Group is located 518 kilometers northwest of Puerto Princesa City, in Palawan.

According to Surigao del Rep. Johnny Pimentel the funding of the major port project in Spratlys has been included in the House-approved 2017 General Appropriations Act, under the P3.98-billion spending program for the maritime sector of the Department of Transportation.

In a report submitted by DOTr to the Philippine Congress the new port to be constructed at the Kalayaan Island Group would vastly improve accessibility to the area and bolster the country’s claims in the West Philippine Sea.

Rep. Pimentel also said in a news report posted by Manila Bulletin that the congress support for the port development project will surely help encourage human settlement in the remote Philippine island which now has less than 400 residents, mostly fishermen.

The congressman who is also a member of the House Committee on National Defense and Security also suggested that the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources consider putting up a research station in Pag-asa.

Rep. Pimentel likewise urged the Department of Energy to find ways to provide the 37.2 hectare island with a renewable and stable source of electricity.

The low-lying landmass surrounded by shallow coral ranges is powered by a 75KVa generator set. The island has been occupied by the Philippines since 1970, and during the year 1978 the Municipality of Kalayaan was established under Presidential decree signed by Pres. Marcos with only one barangay, Brgy. Pag-asa.

At present time, Brgy. Pag-asa located at Pag-asa island in the Kalayaan Island Group Municipality is guarded by a small military detachment and the Philippine Navy has the Naval Station Emilio Liwanag in the island. The island has an unpaved 1.3 kilometer airstrip, a one-classroom primary school and a five-bed clinic.

Ed Umbao

Founder of PhilNews.xyz | co-Founder of PhilNews.ph

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