Defense chief: No plan to militarize Pag-asa Island
MANILA, Philippines — There are no plans to militarize Pag-asa (Thitu) Island, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Wednesday.
He added that the completion of a sheltered port and beach ramp in the island, the biggest territory occupied by the Philippines in the Spratlys, which is part of Kalayaan town in Palawan, did not mean that military equipment would be set up.
“We will not militarize our island there. We will not bring in military equipment to defend it because I don’t think there is any threat of attack on Pag-asa and the eight other [Philippine-occupied] islands,” Lorenzana said in a televised interview.
The beach ramp that will allow the military to bring in supplies for the repair of the runway and the sheltered port for fishermen are expected to be in operation by June 12, according to earlier reports.
Except for Pag-asa Island, which has a civilian community, other Philippine features in the disputed West Philippine Sea are controlled by the military.
—Jeannette I. Andrade
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