MANILA—Plans are now being formulated on how to acquire and transport materials needed for the upgrade of some of the facilities in Pagasa Island, the largest feature occupied by the Philippines in the Kalayaan Island Group.
This was disclosed by Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado Wednesday.
“Right now we are undertaking the planning on how to undertake the directive of (Defense) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to improve some of the facilities at Pagasa. This is more in line with trying to improve the situation of our constituents there and also some of the fishermen who take shelter in Pagasa,” he said.
“So right now, the PN, through our Naval Combat Engineering Brigade, is coming (with) plans and undertaking acquisition for the construction materials and equipment that are needed to undertake and comply with the the directive of Secretary Lorenzana,” he added.
Mercado said these items must be delivered before the start of the rainy season so that ships transporting this can avoid the rough sea conditions.
Construction projects eyed for Pagasa Island include the concreting of the 1.2 kilometer-long Rancudo Airstrip, development of ports, installation of additional solar panels and generator sets, desalination plants, new quarters for military personnel, establishment of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) marine research and shelter center, and an ice plant for storing and preserving the fish caught by the islanders.
The above-mentioned projects have a budget of PHP1.6 billion, Lorenzana earlier said.
As this develops, Western Command head Lt. Gen. Raul Del Rosario said that troops and some initial supplies needed for the upgrades in Pagasa Island were transported there by ship last week.
Full scale construction will take place once all the materials are landed.
However, he did not give an exact timetable for this.