July 21, 2011 by staff
Pag-asa Island, Three of the five legislators who went on a “mission of peace and sovereignty” in Spratlys said there is a need to improve conditions on the island of Pag-asa, both from the standpoint of military and civilian. Walden Bello Akbayan Representatives and Kaka Bag-ao and Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat retold their stories to the media about what happened during his visit Wednesday.
Pag-asa Island is the second largest island in the West Sea, fought in the Philippines or South China Sea.
For now, Pay-asa Island has 5 aircraft, which have been visibly machinery worn by time, but “are still fully operational,” said AFP Western Command (Wescom), Juancho Sabban general.
Of all the islands in the Spratlys, Pag-asa was the first to have an airstrip, but until now has remained unimproved.
Pag-asa has no dock or marina, and can only be addressed either by air or by small boats, said Sabban.
Congressmen echoed Wescom request for both a marina and a concrete runway.
Bag-ao also promised to look into the lives of the people who inhabit the island, saying it has no school, hospital, or a vehicle for navigation.
He told how the children have to leave their families if they want to study at the school closest Puerto Princesa.
At least one person has died due to flights to and from Pag-asa is few, and the Navy ship that drops supplies only comes once a month.
Bag-ao said the Fund would donate Akbayan Priority Development Assistance (PDAF) to build a school.
Meanwhile, Baguilat also thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DFA), to give contingent approval to travel there.
One day before the group left, DFA announced that they needed permission before traveling. Bello said the DFA finally turned around and said there was no legal impediment to the mission of driving.
Lawmakers also discussed progress on the other islands of the other claimant countries.
Vietnam and Malaysia have established centers that control islets. Vietnam and China also have large anti-aircraft weapons.
Before and after landing in Pag-asa, the contingent flew over some of the other islands and eight banks under control of the Philippines.
He deliberately avoided flying over Mischief Reef, however, said it was “risky” due to the presence of two Chinese ships and the garrison-like structure, largely considered to military housing.
The planes are also avoided Pugad Island, which is controlled by Vietnam and heavily armed. Pugad island is just a few miles from the Philippines controlled Parola Island.
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