Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff General Cirilito Sobejana said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source on May 10 that they are planning to turn Pag-asa Island into a logistics hub for naval assets as well as air assets patrolling the West Philippine Sea.
He said that currently 10 Philippine Navy ships are under the AFP Western Command (WESCOM) for the purpose of sovereignty patrols.
He also noted that they are following the guidance of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana “na walang alisan”.
“Considering na ‘yung West Philippine Sea ay napakalayo from Puerto Princesa – ngayon lahat ng resupply natin and other logistics activities ay ginagawa sa Puerto Princesa – which is in the opposite side, iikot pa, malayo, bago makakuha nang pangangailangan ng ating mga sailors and the requirements of our naval assets,” General Sobejana said.
“We are planning to [make] Pag-asa Island or the Pag-asa Municipality into a logistics hub, para ‘yung turn around ng ating mga assets malapit lang so ‘yung sinasabi nating walang alisan ay talagang masasagawa po natin,” the AFP chief said.
“We are completing our plan. We want it very comprehensive. Initially, nag-uusap na po kami Governor Alvarez ng Palawan and he is very favorable to the idea. He even told me na we have to do it fast General. Sabi ko: “As far as the Armed Forces is concerned we will do our best effort,” General Sobejana said.
“For now we don’t have the budget and other resources required for that purpose. We will make a very strong representation to the national leadership, para sa ganoon mapondohan itong ating binabalak na gagawing logistics hub and Pag-asa Island,” he said.
He explained that if Pag-asa Island is made into a logistics hub “we can say na ang ating EEZ in the West Philippine Sea ay talagang ma-sustain natin ‘yung presence ng ating naval, as well as air assets for maritime and sovereignty patrols,” the general said.