‘Bad weather delaying government projects on Pag-Asa Island’

Jaime Laude - The Philippine Star
âBad weather delaying government projects on Pag-Asa Islandâ
They are more concerned with the completion of the construction of a beaching ramp in the island town.

MANILA, Philippines — The presence of numerous Chinese fishing boats in the waters near the country’s Pag-Asa Island in the disputed Spratly archipelago is no longer a threat to the islanders.

They are more concerned with the completion of the construction of a beaching ramp in the island town.

What bothers them, they said, is the prevailing severe sea conditions because of stormy weather, causing delay of the key government project in the island town.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday that construction of the beaching ramp in Pag-Asa Island is expected to be finished first quarter of this year.

The beaching ramp, once operational, will pave the way for the repairs of other existing facilities in the island, including the unpaved Rancudo Airfield.

Lorenzana said the defense department intends to extend the 1,300-meter airfield runway by 300 meters.

The islanders welcomed Lorenzana’s pronouncement, hoping that the private contractor of the beaching project – Luzviminda Construction Corp. – will soon return and resume construction of the port.

“The construction of the beaching ramp was temporarily stopped late last year after the civilian contractor moved its heavy equipment out of the island due to the series of storms that hit the area. We hope that soon they will return and resume their construction activities,” a resident said.

Unlike before when everybody in the island was jittery over the presence of Chinese boats in the waters close to the island town, today these things no longer bother them.

Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), through the Asia Maritime Transparency International (AMTI), bared the huge number of Chinese fishing boats near Pag-Asa Island are militia of the Peoples Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN).

These fishing boats were apparently deployed near Pag-Asa to intimidate the Philippine government and discourage it from pushing through with its infrastructure development of the island town.



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