PH not giving up on Pag-asa island claim

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The suspension of construction work on Pagasa (Thitu) island does not mean that the Philippines is giving up its claim on the disputed territory, Malacañang said on Saturday.

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Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government’s decision to stop the repair of a military runway on the island will not undermine the country’s claim.

“We have existing measures in place that provides services to our constituents. This [decision to suspend infrastructure development]won’t weaken our position,” Valte said in a radio interview.

“We wanted to maintain the moral high ground in light of the case we filed at the [UN] arbitration tribunal regarding the West Philippine Sea,” she added.

Pagasa is one of the biggest islands in the Spratlys. It lies about 480 kilometers west of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. The island is also claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

“As you all know, we have adopted a position that we will not do anything to escalate tensions to conduct any action that will be construed as provoking the other side on this issue. After the assessment of that particular situation, it was concluded that it would be best for the time being, considering that we have already filed a case to maintain our footing in that particular issue,” Valte said.

She said the upgrade of the runway was stopped in the middle of this year.

The airstrip is used mainly by military aircraft to resupply Filipino troops guarding the island and as well as a small civilian community there.

The airstrip, as well as the acquisition of ships for the Navy, are part of Aquino’s efforts to upgrade the capability of the military.

China has refused to take part in UN arbitration with the Philippines, and warned Manila that bilateral ties will suffer.

The two countries have been involved in several tense confrontations in the South China Sea in recent months.

With AFP

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5 Comments

  1. REYNALDO DEGUZMAN on

    Tila Nawawalang Pagasa na maligtas ang Municipality ng Pagasa, samantalang ang China ay patuloy na dinidevelop ang isla at reefs na nasa ating EEZ. . . .may mga turista pa silang nag wawagayway ng kanilang bandila sa mga tour na ginagawa. . . . .parang di sa atin ang West Philippine Sea sa mga action na ginagawa ng ating pamahalaan. Kung di nyo kayang irepair ang airport, ay papaano madedevelop na gawing turist attraction ang ating mga nasasakupan? Papaano nyo maipagtatanggol ang atin kung tayo mismo takot na takot . . .lumaban ka bayan ko or sumuko na lang. . . . pagkat dapat sa inyo manggagaling ang action bago tayo tulungan ng ibang bansa tulad ng U.S. or Japan, etc. . . . . .puro kayo bibili ng jet planes, bapor, helicopter, submarine, etc etc etc, . . . . pagtatawanan lang kayo ng China sa ginagawa nyong yan at nagsasayang ng pera kung di nyo gagamitin ang armas na hawak nyo ngatyon. . . in the meantime our poor fishermenat getting hit by water cannon in our own EEZ at ipinagbawal pa na mag fishing sa Panatag. . . . .KAUNTING LAKAS NAMAN NG LUOB PARA SABIHING SERIOUS TAYO SA ATING CLAIM . . . .ANG NANGYAYARI SA WEST PHIL. SEA AY MAAARING MANGYARI SA BENHAM RISE LATER. . . .Sayang ang Oil, Gas, at fishing grounds na maaaring mawala. . . .Siguro hinihintay naman and ruling ng UN international court, I hope so, in the meantime, PH needs to develop the islands in our hands now into a tourist attractions to raise our flag just like what the invaders are doing .. . . di naman siguro magagalit ang mga intsik, kahit moral ground ang paguusapan.

  2. eh kasi pro-China si Great Thief Executive. di ba Co juang co ang lahi ng mga ito. kunwari lang na pacase-case pa pero isusuko din naman. arte lang yan. itong mga spokespersons niya eh malamang hindi rin mga pinoys talaga. puro kampi sa amo nila kahit mali. Ayan, me tsansa na naman ang mga beho na sakupin ang pagasa tulad na ibang isla. Tapos hahabulin natin ulit sa claim. Bakit siya maduduwag eh wala naman siyang pamilya, asawa o anak na inaalala. mga utol niya? nakuh, mayayaman pa sa kanya mga yan. Kaya walang pumatol na babae dahil sa ogag nga.

    • Inaction can be construed as giving up by other claimant especially China. Hope PNoy, National Defense Chief, AFP Chief, Navy and Coast Guard Commanders will get together and layout a strategic plan to continue needed airport constructions inside Pagasa. Just like the word Pagasa and its Tagalog meaning, don’t give up hope – pagasa (Island).