PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd flies today to Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, the province that is closest to the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. confirmed the planned visit during a radio interview on Sunday but stressed that it has nothing to do with the heightening tension between the Philippines and China.
“The President is scheduled to fly tomorrow (Monday) to inspect the progress of the ongoing (project) to modernize the Puerto Princesa Airport that was approved by the NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) last October 17, 2014 which costs P5.23 billion,” the Palace official said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.
Coloma clarified that the visit is not at all related to the disputes or to the halting of repair works at Pag-asa island, the small town located in the Spratlys.
“The reason why we stopped the repairs (in Pag-asa island) is based on the status quo principle on areas covered by issues on maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea that is related o the rules-based approach strategy where we filed an arbitration case before the UN (UNited Nations) tribunal,” he added.
He said Aquino will also visit the Mactan Cebu International Airport project that was also approved late last year.
With a budget of P17.5 billion, the Mactan project aims to further improve the tourism industry in the region, Cebu being an important international gateway.