SOLYMONE BLOG

PHILIPPINES PLAN TO UPGRADE THE DISPUTED SPARTYS


Philippines Air Force airstrip at Pagasa Island in the Kalayaan Islands Group.
MANILA, May 19 — The Philippines wants to spend about US$1 million (RM3.55 million) to improve military structures on disputed islands in the South China Sea, the navy chief said today, despite warnings from China to stay away from the area.
China warned its neighbours last week to stay away from the Spratlys in the South China Sea, claiming it holds “indisputable sovereignty” over the waters that command strategic sea lanes and hold potential resources.
The Philippines has stationed dozens of soldiers on at least nine islands in the Spratlys — a string of contested reefs, islets, atolls and islands believed to be rich in fishing grounds, minerals, and oil and gas resou
rces.
“For thi
s year, our budget allows us only maintenance work for these facilities. So, we need additional funds to improve the facilities,” Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez (photo), the navy chief, told reporters, referring to Philippine structures in the Spratlys.
“We should
give priority to their billeting requirements because of the conditions in the area. During severe weather conditions, it’s hard to live there,” Golez said referring to Philippine troops on the disputed islands.
Golez said the military would spend more than US$1 million to upgrade existing facilities in nine Philippine-held islands, some of which are totally submerged d
uring high tide.
The Philipp
ines, he said, was aware of restrictions against building new structures and occupying new territories in the Spratlys under a non-binding code of conduct among the 10-member Southeast Asian states and China.
Four
members of the Association of the South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) — Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam — as well as China and Taiwan have conflicting claims on the Spratlys.
G
olez said work on the Philippines’ existing facilities would not violate the code of conduct, noting that other claimant states have done similar improvements in the area.
Courtesy: The Malaysian Insider
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