Navy to celebrate anniversary near Spratlys
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 23, 2014 - 6:23pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Navy will celebrate its 116th anniversary next week in Palawan, the province nearest to the disputed Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

President Aquino will attend the event on Tuesday at the Naval Station Carlito Cunanan in Ulugan Bay in Puerto Princesa City.

Aquino is expected to inspect the improvements being made in the naval station’s pier, living quarters, and other support infrastructures.

He will also inaugurate mission-essential facilities for command and control of the Naval Forces West, the unit that oversees the naval operations in the West Philippine Sea.

“This year's anniversary is a departure from the traditional Navy anniversary celebrations where the venue is usually Manila-Cavite area,” said Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the Navy’s Civil-Military Operations Group.

“The Navy will show the President the improvements being undertaken and what other mission-essential facilities are needed in that base to sustain its operations in the West Philippine Sea,” he added.

Arevalo admitted that Naval Station Carlito Cunanan, formerly known as the Ulugan Detachment, is relatively underdeveloped and underutilized.

He said the station’s facilities like the pier, living quarters, and other support facilities have to be rehabilitated.

The Cunanan naval station is near the Oyster Bay, an area facing the West Philippine Sea and one of the sites that the military wants to develop.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista earlier said that he wants to offer Oyster Bay as a possible site for the United States (US) facilities to be built under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Bautista said he is hopeful that the EDCA, which provides US troops greater access to Philippine bases, will facilitate the development of the site.

He noted that Oyster Bay could provide access to the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea.

The government has allotted P500-million to develop the Ulugan Bay base, including P313-million to improve the pier, harbor and support facilities at Oyster Bay. - with reports from Ronald Mendoza and Alvin Perez

ARMED FORCES CIVIL-MILITARY OPERATIONS GROUP EDGARD AREVALO EMMANUEL BAUTISTA ENHANCED DEFENSE COOPERATION AGREEMENT NAVAL FORCES WEST NAVAL STATION CARLITO CUNANAN OYSTER BAY ULUGAN BAY WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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