President Aquino ordered not to change the status quo in West Philippine Sea. With the said instruction from the President, improvement of airstrip and military facilities in Pagasa Island was deffered.
This was divulged by the Secretary of National Defense at a budget hearing being conducted by Senate finance committee, October 3.
“We got specific instruction from the President not to desert the status quo. We have funds for the improvement but this is now being held in abeyance because of the case we have filed,” Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told the committee.
According to him even though funds are available the development of facilities in Pagasa Island was deferred because it might affect Philippines’ case regarding West Philippine Sea filed in the international tribunal.
“It might affect the case that we have filed before the international tribunal,” Gazmin noted.
PhP480 million is allocated to upgrade Naval and Air facilities in the said island. There will be two phases. The first stage will involve dredging activities to enable ships from approaching the island. Second stage is the actual repair of the air strip.
“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,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said in earlier interview.