Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana tours the Philippine-claimed Thitu Island during his visit to the Spratlys Group of islands off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines Friday, April 21, 2017.  The visit Friday was aimed to assert the country's claim to the heartland of a disputed area where China is believed to have added missiles on man-made islands. The South China Sea issue is expected to be discussed in the 20th ASEAN Summit of Leaders next week.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana excursions the Philippine-claimed Thitu Island throughout his visit to the Spratlys Group of islands off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines Friday, April 21, 2017. The visit Friday was aimed to assert the nation’s declare to the heartland of a disputed space the place China is believed to have added missiles on man-made islands. The South China Sea subject is predicted to be mentioned within the 20th ASEAN Summit of Leaders subsequent week.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Malacañang on Sunday mentioned high protection officers visited Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island within the closely disputed Spratly archipelago final week as a part of the federal government’s work in taking care of its residents there.

China, which claims nearly the entire South China Sea, protested the visit to Pag-asa by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año on Friday.

“[It] is part of the efforts to improve the safety, welfare, livelihood of Filipinos residing and living in the municipality of Kalayaan, which is part of the province of Palawan,” Abella mentioned, referring to the island group within the Spratlys to which Pag-asa belongs.

Commenting on China’s customary problem to Philippine plane flying over the realm, Abella maintained the the Philippines “has long been undertaking customary and routine maritime patrol and overflight in the West Philippine Sea, which are lawful activities under international law.”

“Such flights will likewise enable us to reach our municipality,” he added.

The West Philippine Sea is a part of the South China Sea throughout the Philippines’ 370-kilometer unique financial zone.

During his visit to Pag-asa with Año, Lorenzana introduced that the federal government would spend P1.6 billion to flip the second-largest island within the Kalayaan group right into a vacationer vacation spot and a marine analysis middle.

He mentioned the federal government would restore the airstrip on the island and construct a fishport, radio station, energy plant, desalination plant and ice plant there.

Glad concerning the authorities’s plan, Sen. Sonny Angara urged fellow senators to approve his invoice that may remodel the Kalayaan island group into one of many main vacationer locations within the Philippines. Angara filed the invoice final yr.

“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,” he mentioned in a press release.

Pag-asa Island is positioned 480 kilometers off southwestern Palawan. It’s the one Philippine-occupied island within the Spratlys that’s inhabited by civilians, largely households of troopers stationed there.

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