PH to push upgrade of structures in Spratlys

Alberto del Rosario

Foreign Affairs secretary Alberto del Rosario. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Philippines’ top diplomat on Wednesday said the country would push through with plans to upgrade infrastructure in its claimed parts of the contested Spratly islands in the West Philippine Sea even as it continues to seek a peaceful solution to the dispute.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario also reiterated the Philippines’ standing protest against China’s “bothersome” actions, citing the nine-dash line in China’s territorial map that encompasses the entire Spratly chain of islands and the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

The DFA said China’s claims were “excessive” as it includes almost all territories in the South China Sea, including those within the Philippines’ maritime zone.

Del Rosario said the Philippines has filed roughly 15 official protests to Chinese incursions in the waters, among them sea patrols, the fortification of an administrative unit for the Spratlys, and a new maritime law allowing police interdiction of foreign ships in China’s southern coast.

China plans


Earlier, China announced similar plans to beef up infrastructure and tourism facilities in the islands off Hainan, a southern Chinese province that it is assigned to exercise administrative authority over the disputed islands.

In a press briefing Wednesday, Del Rosario said Philippine infrastructure in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), the Pag-asa Island in particular, was due for rehabilitation, backing earlier statements on military  plans to enhance the runway on the territory.

“We should fix it. I think we should refurbish it, enhance it,” said Del Rosario in response to a question on KIG’s development.

Kalayaan, Philippine authorities assert, is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and is a municipality of Palawan province. Within this island group is the Pag-asa Island, the seat of Kalayaan town and home to a modest Filipino civilian and military population.

Tourism area

Del Rosario also bared plans to turn the Philippine-claimed parts of the Spratlys into a tourism area.

“I think there are moves to convert some areas over which we have sovereignty into tourist areas, and I think that’s being looked into.  I don’t know whether we have the budget for it , but I understand that that is being considered,” Del Rosario told reporters at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • rodulio

    The best bet would be to open this for bid for the private industry instead of spending money on them and the Philippines don’t have much of..

  • JEO

    Our government must act fast, creative and stop being stupid like we experience from our past leaders that even our defence capabilty they forgot while their pockets are full of bucks!

    Our country should have an agency or institution that will monitor our every progress of our nation by making sure our officials are liable of their jobs.  

    for example, Our Senators- Lot of corrupt individuals and incompetent.-some setting their for        a long long time without seeing our economy help our people.
                        Our Congressmen- Corrupt and incompetent too
                        in BI up to LTO- corruption is evrywhere
    but all these individulas are well paid by their people hard earn money but many of them cannot even show us a good result. so they must be relieve right away!

    Like this spratly issues, how come this is inside our territory but it’s like other country dectating us what to do? cannot even defend it? Their should be liable on it and they must let us know why this happen. it’s a shame they only say, we dont have ships planes..very shameful! 

    • PurpleDaisy13

      re: “Like this spratly issues, how come this is inside our territory but it’s
      like other country dectating us what to do? cannot even defend it?”

      Because your actual Philippines territory was defined in the Treaty of Paris 1898 under Article III where Spain states the actual boundary coordinates of their Philippines indicating that Scarborough Shoal and the Spratly islands (Itu Aba) were NOT included as part of their Philippines.

      The “inside our territory” you are referring to is the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 nautical miles granted by being a member of UNCLOS since 1984.  However, EEZ only grants you sovereignty over underwater marine features, not above-water features such as islands.

      In essence JEO, they are not official Philippine territories to defend.

      • JEO

        Then u r saying it’s China’s territory? They don’t even have the right docs to claim’s just they speculates on it! The chinks are just simply greedy and the Phil’s is just stupid enough for staying complacent!

      • PurpleDaisy13

        re: “Then u r saying it’s China’s territory?”

        No.  I am saying it is not Philippines territory.

        However, it is also not China’s territory.

        Neither Philippines and China is recognized by the United Nations, the United States, and the World International Community as having sovereignty over Scarborough Shoals and Itu Aba.

        Thus, both Philippines and China are greedy for the oil.  Not just China alone JEO.

      • JEO

        How our country become greedy? We don’t even have the talent, capability to drill. it’s just it’s inside our backyard which is understandable to every person’s healthy mind.

      • PurpleDaisy13

        re: “How our country become greedy?”

        Your Philippines country is greedy because they are willing to engage in a confrontation with China and other countries over the OIL on islands that is not a territory of the Philippines JEO.

        If Scarborough Shoal and Itu Aba island did not have OIL, do you think the Philippines would go through all this effort to risk the Philippine nation towards potential war and economic conflict with China? No, but since Philippines is also GREEDY for the OIL, then Philippines chooses to take the risks and consequences.

        re: “We don’t even have the talent, capability to drill.”

        You don’t need to have talent or the capability to drill to qualify as being “greedy”.  The mere fact that the Philippines is willing to take these risks to bring the nation towards a potential conflict of war and economic conflict with China demonstrates the influence powered by GREED.

        Because if GREED has it’s way in acquiring these islands away from other claimants, GREED can sell other countries, that have the talent and capability to drill, the authorization to drill for from their regions of OIL JEO.

        re: “it’s just it’s inside our backyard”

        We’ve already this discussed this above JEO.  It’s not within the boundary coordinates specified in the Treaty of Paris 1898, Article III while the Exclusive Economic Zone only gives rights to underwater features within 200 nautical miles….not abovewater features within 200 nautical miles such as islands. 

        Thus, it is not inside your backyard JEO.

  • NaUnsa

    The Philippines needs to turn all of West Philippine Territories into a military hardware or missile production facility underground or above the ground to protect us from the imperialist china. All future wars should start there and ending it in the same area for good! 

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks




latest videos