DND: No additional troops to Pag-asa.
DND: No additional troops to Pag-asa !-- -- Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - April 9, 2019 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines The military will not deploy additional troops but will maintain its presence on Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said yesterday. Lorenzana said there are no plans to increase the number of soldiers currently stationed in the area.
"No such plan. We will maintain our normal presence in Pag-asa and in the other eight features that we own," Lorenzana said.
Last week, President Duterte told the Chinese to lay off the island, which is part of the municipality of Kalayaan in Palawan. "This is not a warning, this is just a word of advice to my friends, since we are friends.
China, I will not plead or beg but I'm just telling you: lay off Pag-asa because I have my soldiers there," Duterte said. "Pag-asa Island belongs to us.
Is that our base? China would never do that, I assure you, unless China wants a war with us. I will not allow them to also occupy Pag-asa.
No, of course not," he added. Lorenzana refused to reveal the actual number of soldiers stationed in Pag-asa and in other features in the Spratly chain as such information is confidential.
"Basta lahat ng (All of the) islands belonging to us, we have troops," he said without giving details. Soldiers on Pag-asa told The STAR that they call the eastern side of the island as the Philippine side and the western part the "unsafe side," saying they wouldn't want to call it the Chinese side.
The government is currently working on improving the facilities in Pag-asa, particularly repairing and improving the runway and constructing a beach ramp.