MANILA–A Senator has backed the decision of the Duterte administration to turn Pag-asa Island in the Spratlys into a tourist destination noting its potential because of its beaches and pristine white sand.
“With its impeccable beauty, the island is an ideal tourist destination…the rich biodiversity and truly Filipino heritage truly reflects the beauty of a paradise that our country should be proud of,” Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said.
Angara made this remark after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced that a total of PHP1.6 billion for the repair of the 1.3-kilometer runway of Rancudo Airfield, and PHP400 million for the construction of a fish port in the island.
He, meanwhile, urged his colleagues to support his measure, Senate Bill 944 entitled “Declaring Pag-asa Island Cluster in the Municipality of Kalayaan, Province of Palawan as an Ecotourism Destination and Protected Area, Providing Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes.”
Under the bill, the Pag-asa Island Ecotourism Cluster Governing Board shall be created composed of the governor of Palawan as its chairperson, congressman of the First District of Palawan as co-chairperson, regional executive director for Region IV-B of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as vice chairperson, and the regional director for Region IV-B of the Department of Tourism (DOT) as co-vice chairperson.
Also in the board are the mayor of the Municipality of Kalayaan, barangay chairperson of Pag-asa Island, commander of the Western Command of the military, and one each from the pro-environment non-government organization, academe, business sector, and the private sector.
The Pag-asa Island (Thitu), located 480 kilometers off southwestern Palawan, is effectively occupied by the Philippines and the second largest island in the whole of Kalayaan Island Group (Spratlys). It’s the only Philippine-occupied island in the Spratlys that is inhabited by civilians.