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Coming soon: Extended runway, better facilities on Pag-asa Island

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Coming soon: Extended runway, better facilities on Pag-asa Island

/ 04:02 PM April 21, 2017
Photo from Frances Mangosing

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana visits and inspects the Pag-asa Island. FRANCES MANGOSING/INQUIRER.net

PAG-ASA ISLAND, South China Sea—Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana flew to Pag-asa Island (Thitu) on Friday, the first defense chief to visit the Philippine-claimed territory in the disputed sea in nearly 20 years.

He was joined by top military officials to tour the island and inspect the facilities that need to be repaired.

“Kami ay nandito para tingnan ‘yung lugar dahil maraming gustong ipagawa ang ating mahal na Presidente. Meron tayong nakalaang pera rito para maayos natin ang ating runway,” he told the military personnel deployed and residents of the island.

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(We are here to inspect the place because the President wants repairs done here. We have allotted funds to fix the runway.)

READ: Duterte: Occupy PH islands in South China Sea

The Rancudo airfield is an unpaved 1.3-kilometer airstrip that is dangerous for landing big military planes.

“Sesementuhin natin ‘yan, aayusin natin ‘yung mga dulo, dagdagan natin sa kabila naman para humaba kasi kanina nakakatakot mag-landing itong C-130 akala mo lalampas na sa runway dahil sa igsi ng runway,” he said.

(We will cement it, fix its edges and extend it because it was a scary experience landing on the C-130; we thought we would overrun the runway because it is too short.)

Lorenzana also bared plans to put up a fish port and to fortify the rest of the eight islands and reefs claimed by the Philippines in the Spratlys in a bid to make it a tourist destination.

“So ang gagawin natin d’yan maglalagay tayo rito ng mga facilities, tower ‘yung electricity siguro, solar, desalination, kasi ‘pagka nagawa na natin itong runway rito na maganda makakapunta na lahat, madaling pumunta rito. Maraming magpupunta rito dahil magandang tourist attraction ito e,” Lorenzana said.

(So we will put up facilities, including a transmission tower and solar and desalination (plants). Because once we fix the runway, it will be good to open this to many visitors. Many would want to go here because this is a beautiful tourist attraction.) IDL

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TAGS: Delfin Lorenzana, Pag-asa Island, Philippines, South China Sea, territorial dispute
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