WATCH: Upgrades on Pag-asa Island continue as Chinese militias prowl its waters

JC Gotinga
WATCH: Upgrades on Pag-asa Island continue as Chinese militias prowl its waters
The government inaugurates a new beaching ramp at the Philippines' main outpost in the West Philippine Sea, which is still hounded by the presence of Chinese paramilitary ships

MANILA, Philippines – The government recently unveiled a new beaching ramp on Pag-asa Island that will pave the way for future construction projects on the country’s main outpost in the West Philippine Sea.

As Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and the military top brass visited the island on June 9 to officially open the new pier, Chinese militia vessels hovered on the horizon – a reminder of China’s intransigence in claiming the West Philippine Sea as its territory.

Roberto del Mundo, mayor of the Kalayaan municipality that includes Pag-asa, said the Chinese boats give Filipino fishermen trouble on the water, giving them chase as they go out for the day’s catch.

Not wanting to rock the boat with China, even President Rodrigo Duterte is wary of visiting the island, Lorenzana said.

With more infrastructure projects lined up for Pag-asa Island, the lingering question is, will Filipinos ever be free to explore and enjoy their maritime heritage in the West Philippine Sea? – Rappler.com

JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.