November 25, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Philippines plans to resume upgrading facilities in Spratlys

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wants to improve facilities on Thitu Island in Spratlys, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters during visit to area.

The visit was just normal and not meant to send message to any country, the defense secretary said.

“We are just visiting our territory to look at the condition of our people here,” said Lorenzana who flew to disputed island with some military officials and journalists.

The defense chief said the Chinese challenged plane carrying him on
his way to Thitu island; Philippine officials told them “we are flying over Philippine territory”

The construction of beaching ramp to be prioritized to facilitate shipping of building materials for further upgrade.

This Philippines is already behind other claimant states in upgrading facilities and had to halt construction after case against China before UN arbitral tribunal.

Asked about possible protest from China over construction, Lorenzana says Beijing “has been doing that too for a long time”; the planned upgrade won’t result in untoward incident between two nations, he said. -- Bloomberg