Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, has pledged the military’s support for the development of Pagasa Island and the protection of the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).
In a virtual meeting with Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez on July 19, Sobejana acknowledged the need to turn Pagasa Island into a “logistics hub” to protect the KIG’s biodiversity and the livelihood of its fishing communities.
“We are glad that we are on the same page in the future of the province of Palawan, that we view it as a strategic and critical national security frontier, particularly in the interests of ecological balance and sustainable development,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
Sobejana also hailed the initiatives of Palawan’s provincial government to protect the nation’s interest through its proposal to declare the KIG as a protected area under Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992.
“We are at a point when we have to stick together as one nation and we are glad that the provincial government of Palawan is already on board,” he said.
The discussion included further development of the Pagasa Island as a haven for Filipino fishermen, as well as a possible tourist destination.
These measures would require expansion and construction of facilities that are aimed at sustaining an increase in economic activity on the island.