Philippines to build 5 lighthouses in Spratly Islands
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said the lighthouses could provide navigational safety for all international vessels transiting the West Philippine Sea.
AP, File

Philippines to build 5 lighthouses in Spratly Islands

(Philstar.com) - May 30, 2018 - 1:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government is building five lighthouses in South China Sea features occupied by the Philippines to ensure the safety of transiting ships and to improve the living conditions of Filipinos in the area, an official said Wednesday.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said lighthouses are being constructed in Pag-asa, Parola, Likas, Patag and Kota, islets that are part of the Spratly Islands.  

"We are upgrading facilities for the comfort of our people," Esperon said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum in Manila.

"Lighthouses are now being constructed features held by the Philippines to ensure safety of navigation, along our responsibility under the UNCLOS (United Nations 
Convention on the Law of the Sea) to provide navigational safety for all international vessels transiting the West Philippine Sea," he added. 

Esperon said the construction of lighthouses, which costs about P10 million, is part of the government's effort to upgrade Philippine-claimed features in the West Philippine Sea. The government is also upgrading port and airstrip facilities in Pag-asa island, the largest of the nine features controlled by the Philippines in the Spratly Islands. 

"This is necessary for trade, the preservation of the livelihood of the fisherfolk, and the timely delivery of basic necessities of the community in the municipality 
of Pag-asa," the national security adviser said. 

"It is but natural (to carry out upgrades) because we have a fishing community there," he added. 

Esperon said the upgrade and repair of the runway on Pag-asa, which China calls Thitu island, would allow the government to send supplies to troops stationed in the area.

China claims historic rights over about 90 percent of the South China Sea including Spratly Islands while the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

While China has been aggressively building new structures, including military facilities, in disputed areas, planned improvements in Philippine-held features were delayed to avoid tensions. 

Earlier this month, think tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative reported that the Philippines has started the repairs on Pag-asa island, which is inhabited by about 100 Filipinos. Upgrades were also observed on Lawak Island, Panata Island and Rizal Reef. — Alexis Romero

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 27, 2020 - 9:37am

The United States Navy's Nimitz-class nuclear powered supercarrier USS John C. Stennis continues underway in the South China Sea.

The US Pacific Command just reported that it has received "cargo" from support ship USNS Rainier in the disputed waters.

August 27, 2020 - 9:37am

China said a US spy plane entered a no-fly zone used by the Chinese military for live-fire drills, branding it an act of provocation, state media said Tuesday.

The U-2 reconnaissance jet's flight over an area in northern China violated safety rules between the two nations, Xinhua reported, citing Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian.

"The US action could easily have resulted in misjudgments and even accidents," said the report, adding "that the move was an obvious provocation." — AFP

July 14, 2020 - 7:34am

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States would treat Beijing's pursuit of resources in the dispute-rife South China Sea as illegal, ramping up pressure on another front.

"We are making clear: Beijing's claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them," Pompeo says in a statement.

The United States has long rejected Beijing's sweeping claims in the South ChinaSea, aligning itself with Vietnam, the Philippines and other US partners in the region. — AFP

July 3, 2020 - 7:28am

The Pentagon says it is "concerned" about Chinese military exercises around a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea, noting the maneuvers will "further destabilize" the region.

"The Department of Defense is concerned about the People's Republic of China (PRC) decision to conduct military exercises around the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on July 1-5," the Pentagon says in a statement.

The activities "further destabilize the situation" in the area claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan, it says. — AFP

April 30, 2020 - 4:15pm

The Philippines says it strongly protests "the establishment of the so-called districts of 'Nansha' and 'Xisha' under the supposed administrative jurisdiction of its self-declared 'Sansha City'" which would cover parts of the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs says it has protested since 2012 the "unlawful establishment of Sansha City" that includes Philippine territory and maritime zones in the WPS, including the Kalayaan Island Group and Bajo de Masinloc.

The Philippines also protests the dseignation of Kagitingan Reef in the Kalayaan Island Group "as adinistrative center for the so-called 'Nansha district'," saying the reef is part of the KIG and an integral part of Philippine territory.

April 27, 2020 - 1:41pm

Sen. Risa Hontiveros has filed a resolution to urge the executive branch to "exert legal and diplomatic pressure" on China over its activities in the West Philippine and to have the regional giant pay for enviromental damage in the area.

"China's sense of entitlement to our seas has caused severe and irreparable harm to our ecosystems," Hontiveros says in a statement on the filing of Philippine Senate Resolution No. 369.

Even if the Senate, the majority of which supports the Duterte administration and its foreign policy with China, adopts the resolution, it is non-binding on the executive branch.

"Hindi tayo kolonya, kaya panahon nang singilin ng gobyerno ang Tsina (We are not a colony so it's about time that we have China pay)," she also says.

In her resolution, Hontiveros says "unlawful Chinese activities in the West Philippine Sea are estimated to have caused at last P33 billion in damage annually to marine ecosystems within the Philippines' continental shelf and exclusive economic zone" since 2013, the year that the Philippines filed its arbitration case.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with