Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff General Romeo Brawner Jr. said that safeguarding the country’s interests in the West Philippines Sea (WPS) should hinge on strengthening defense resources.
“The name of the game in the [WPS] is effective presence. It means whoever is there has control of that specific area,” Brawner said in a press conference on Thursday evening, Oct. 5 at the Manila Golf and Country Club.
That same morning, Brawner accompanied a small group of congressmen led by House Speaker Martin Romualdez on a tour of Pag-asa island in the WPS.
During the visit, Romualdez vowed that the House will allocate funds to construct key infrastructure on the remote island, such as storm shelters, a solar energy plant, and satellite-based communication facilities.
The planned construction of new facilities in Pag-asa is viewed as an affirmation of the government’s desire to protect Philippine sovereignty and rights over the disputed waters.
Meanwhile, Romualdez commended the “collective efforts” he saw from AFP personnel and various government agencies during his island visit.
“You will be proud to see what everyone is doing there for the Philippines, everyone—the men and women in uniform and services, and the residents there, they are true heroes because as the Chief of Staff said, that is in the furthest most point, ang layo na nga eh. We are all the way out, out there at the edge literally,” Romualdez said.
The trip to Pag-asa Island also included House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City 2nd district Rep. Mannix Dalipe, House Minority Leader and 4Ps Party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman and Ako Bicol Party-list Zaldy Co.