“Improving the safety, welfare, livelihood, and personal security of Filipinos in the municipality of Kalayaan, a distinct and separate town under the province of Palawan, is the government’s Constitutional mandate. Kalayaan has been part of the sovereignty of the Philippines since 1978, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1596 and international laws,” National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Friday.
His statement was made after think tank AMTI reported that Philippines’ work in Pag-asa Island provoked Chinese paramilitary response.
“The presence of militia on the Chinese man-made structures is no surprise to us as they have been there since 2012. We expect other countries to respect Philippine sovereignty, and to conduct themselves in a civilized manner befitting members of the global community,” Lorenzana added.
“These planned modest improvements are basic but nonetheless highly essential in delivering social services to raise the standard of living and improve the quality of life of Filipino citizens on the island,” he said.
“Implementing these improvements is a legitimate undertaking, and well within our rights as a sovereign nation,” he added. PNA