MANILA -- Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said efforts are ongoing to rehabilitate all existing facilities on Pag-asa Island, the largest of the Philippine-occupied feature in the Kalayaan Island Group.
He made this statement Monday when sought for an update on the ongoing rehabilitation efforts on the island, during the question and answer portion of National Defense College of the Philippines Alumni Forum, which was dubbed "The National Security Outlook for the Philippines in 2019".
"Our rehabilitation of Pag-asa, it's ongoing, the building of the beaching ramp to be used by the Navy is still ongoing because of (the) rough seas, they have to stop to jive the construction when the sea is a little bit more calm, the problem with Pag-asa is that you have to bring in everything you need for its repair -- steel bars, sand, gravel, heavy equipment," Lorenzana said.
To expedite these efforts, the DND chief said the construction of the beaching ramp has to be completed so that these items can be brought in.
"Without that, you have to anchor (the ship carrying these supplies) and bring these (items) in by small (boats)," he added.
Lorenzana, however, said he expects the beaching ramp to be completed by the first quarter of this year.
"I believe it should be finished by first quarter of this year, this beaching ramp, and after that we can bring in all the heavy equipment to pave the runway (Rancudo Airfield). We have to pave it so that we can use it every day if we want to, even if there is inclement weather for as long as the runway is hard, and there is also plan to lengthen it some more to accommodate larger aircraft, also we are also building some facilities there for our personnel and also helping on the residents in the area," he added. (PNA)
Photo by Joey O. Razon