The Daily Manila Shimbun


Duterte’s order to develop Pagasa serving “best interest” of Filipinos: Palace

April 7, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte's approval of a development plan in Pagasa Island in the South China Sea is part of his mandate "to serve the best interests" of the country, Malacanang said on Friday. The president recently announced plans to improve and implement the Pagasa Development plan which includes nine areas, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement. He also noted Duterte's plan to visit Pagasa on June 12, the commemoration of Independence Day. "It will be significant that it will be the first time a president visits and commemorates Independence Day in this municipality. It will also be symbolic of our independent foreign policy," Abella said. Duterte, who went to a military camp in Palawan province on Thursday, ordered the military to occupy, build structures and place the Philippine flag on nine islands that the country has been claiming in the Kalayaan Group of Islands, including Pagasa. Abella said if Duterte would push with his trip to Pagasa, he will be accompanied by the governor, the three Palawan congressmen and leaders of the municipality of Kalayaan. "The government maintains its commitment for the development of these islands for the benefit of our citizens thereat," Abella said. China has been claiming almost the entire South China Sea, including Pagasa Island off Palawan. Other claimant countries are Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan. (Celerina Monte/DMS)