The Philippine Air Force and Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Rancudo airstrip at Pagasa Island part of Kalayaan Group of Islands in West Philippine Sea will be upgraded and repaired. This is amid the Philippine government’s call for a moratorium.
“We have been occupying Pag-asa before the 2002 DOC, so any improvements there should not be a violation of the DOC,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said.
“Ever since we signed the 2002 DOC, I think the Philippines has been faithful. We have not taken any unilateral action to violate the DOC.”
Chief of Air Staff Maj. Gen. Edgar Fallorina said first stage of repair is a go. The first stage will involve dredging activities to enable ships from approaching the island. Second stage is the actual repair of the air strip.
PhP480 million is allocated to upgrade Navy and Air Force facilities in Pagasa Island.
A firm already won the first stage repair and expected to be finished within the year.
On the other hand, China is calling all Filipino troops and civilians occupying Kalayaan Group of Islands including citizens of Pagasa Island. China claims virtually the entire South China Sea including West Philippine Sea.