DND to complete Pagasa island runway in early 2018 » Manila Bulletin News

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By Francis Wakefield

The Department of National Defense (DND) expects the repair of the 1.3 kilometer-runway of Rancudo Airfield in Pagasa Island, Palawan to be finished by early 2018.

IMPOSING PRESENCE – From an imposing skyline that can be seen from the Philippine-claimed Pagasa Island. (AP | Manila Bulletin)

DND Public Affairs Service chief Director Arsenio Andolong,said that although the monsoon rains have hampered the construction of the beaching ramp, which is a vital structure that would allow Navy LST ships to dock, and bring in heavy equipment and construction materials, “we expect the runway’s completion by early 2018.”

He said bad weather had prevented and delayed the improvement of the runway.

“No construction can proceed without a good beaching ramp,”Andolong said.

“While it’s construction is on-going albeit intermittently depending on good weather,

Andolong said once the weather improves, workers will be able to start repairing, paving and extending the runway, and build additional facilities for troops stationed there.

He also said that once the beaching ramp is done, the Department of Agriculture will build a fishing port for fishermen there.

“May developing community na tayo doon na mas medaling protektahan, hatidan ng supplies at puntahan ng mga bisita balang araw pag natuloy ang iniisip ng gobyerno na gawing tourist spot ang Pagasa (We already have a community there which we can easily protect, bring supplies in and be visited by the public once government’s plan to make it as a tourist destination comes to fruition,” Andolong said.

“Basically, what we are doing) is improvement and upgrading of facilities and amenities/living conditions of our soldiers there,” he said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said that government has allocated some P1.6 billion to improve facilities on Pagasa (Thitu) Island, part of the Kalayaan Group of Islands west of southern Palawan.

Secretary Lorenzana said it is important to construct more facilities for the welfare of soldiers and residents living in the area.

Lorenzana said that P1.2 billion will be used to repair the 1.3 kilometer-runway of Rancudo Airfield on the island while the P400 million will go to the construction of the port. He said Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) will be in charge of the construction.

Aside from the runway, Lorenzana said the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will also put a fish port so that those caught by bad weather will have shelter.

Facilities for electricity infrastructures, sewerage, desalination, etc., are also planned.

Once a strictly military installation, Pagasa Island was opened to civilian settlement in 2002. Pagasa now has a small airstrip, a five-bed lying-in clinic, and a small elementary school built for soldiers and residents.

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