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

SPRATLY ISLANDS WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 15, 2019 - 4:22pm

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.

September 15, 2019 - 4:22pm

Vice President Leni Robredo chides presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, telling him that he should be better informed of what exactly President Duterte has stated before presenting his own "interpretation," so they can stop contradicting each other in public.

Her statement comes after Panelo called her out for "misplaced and flamboyant remarks" in response to the president's remark about ignoring the arbitral ruling for a joint oil and gas exploration deal with China.

"Litong lito talaga ako, kasi ang sinasabi ni pangulo, iba sa sinasabi niya. Nagsabi si pangulo na i-set aside iyong arbitral ruling; ang sabi niya, hindi iyon iyong gustong sabihin," Robredo says on her weekly radio show, BISErbisyong LENI on RMN-DZXL 558.

Robredo says the administration should put a stop to this "practice" as contradictions between the president's statements and Panelo's "clarifications" only make things even more confusing for the people. 

August 20, 2019 - 8:59pm

The White House accuses China of "bullying tactics" in the increasingly tense waters of the South China Sea and says it will resist Beijing on the dispute.

"China’s recent escalation of efforts to intimidate others out of developing resources in the South China Sea is disturbing," President Donald Trump's national security advisor John Bolton tweets.

"The United States stands firmly with those who oppose coercive behavior and bullying tactics which threaten regional peace and security."

 

 

— AFP

July 31, 2019 - 8:22am

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana should do more than acknowledge China's harassment and bullying of Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea, activist fsherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) says.

"Finally, a high-ranking official from the Duterte administration has recognized that there is an actual harassment of Filipino fishers in our own territorial waters. But we dare Mr. Lorenzana to walk the talk, if he is aware and is already fed up by the Chinese bullying and the subservience of his commander-in-chief Rodrigo Duterte to the foreign aggressor, then he must decisively act to stand with the Filipino fisherfolk and the people in upholding our sovereign and territorial rights," the group says in a statement.

Lorenzana on Tuesday said in response to Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua speech at the anniversary of China's People's Liberation Army that China is a peace-loving nation that he considers China's takeover of Scarborough Shoal, also called Panatag and Bajo de Masinloc, as bullying.

July 11, 2019 - 9:18am

An overwhelming majority of Filipinos believe it is important to that the Philippines regain control of islands in the West Philippine Sea that are occupied by China, the latest Social Weather Stations survey suggests.

SWS says 93% of respondents in its Second Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey said it is important "that the control of the islands that China currently occupies in the West Philippine Sea be given back to the Philippines," with 74% answering it is "very important" and 19% saying it is "somewhat important".

In contrast, 1% each said it is "somewhat not important" and "not at all important". Another 4% were undecided, SWS says.
 
"The latest figure of 93% saying it is very important/somewhat important that the Philippines regain control of the China-occupied islands in the West Philippine Sea is 4 points above the 89% (72% very important, 17% somewhat important) in December 2018. It was 87% (72% very important, 15% somewhat important) in September 2018, and also 87% (69% very important, 18% somewhat important) in June 2018," SWS also says.

In the same survey, 89% said it is "not right for the government to leave China alone with its infrastructures and military presence in the claimed territories," SWS says. It adds the proportion has increased steadily in four surveys conducted since June 2018.

July 5, 2019 - 12:37pm

While the Philippines is still verifying the incident, fellow maritime claimant Vietnam joins the United States in raising concern over China's missile test in the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the "East Sea."

"Vietnam suggests that all activities in the East Sea (South China Sea) should respect sovereignty and legitimate and legal interests of countries and observe international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, contributing to regional peace, security, stability and cooperation," Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang says in a statement.

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