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Funds for critical buildings in Pag-asa assured—House

“The Dutch Ambassador reiterated the proposal on establishing naval defense industry cooperation with the Philippines, underscoring its strategic and economic advantages in the long term,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.

The Netherlands’ naval industry is one of the most capable in the world and is known for constructing high-quality patrol ships, corvettes, frigates, and submarines.

“Secretary Teodoro agreed and further proposed to develop broader defense cooperation, taking into consideration the importance of other areas, such as cyber and artificial intelligence, as well as the Netherlands’ potential to become a partner in these areas,” Andolong said.

He also said Teodoro proposed “greenfield opportunities” in various industries, particularly in defense and security, with the Netherlands and the European Union, to advance overall bilateral cooperation.

The House of Representatives will allocate funds to build critical infrastructure in Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea, including storm shelters for fishermen, a solar power plant, and ice and cold storage facilities, among others.

Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez made the announcement Thursday after he and a small contingent of lawmakers visited Pag-asa Island in Palawan province to see for themselves the challenges facing the residents and the armed personnel manning the country’s outpost in the West Philippine Sea.

WPS ACTIVITIES. Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez (third from right), with Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe, Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan, and Ako Bicol Party-List Rep. Zaldy Co join AFP Chief General Romeo Brawner and Wescom Commander Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos (second and first from right), inspects government projects at Pag-asa Island in Palawan on Thursday.

This developed as China insisted on its maritime sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and condemned a resupply mission by four Philippine ships to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal on Wednesday.

“Philippine supply ships and two coast guard ships entered the waters … in China’s Nansha Islands without permission from the Chinese government,” China Coast Guard spokesperson Gan Yu said in a post on its website, using China’s name for the Spratly Islands.

Yu said the Chinese Coast Guard issued stern warnings, reiteratingthat it firmly opposed the transport of materials to BRP Sierra Madre that “sits on the beach” illegally.

Both Ayungin Shoal and Pag-asa Island are part of the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea.

For Romualdez, a development plan is crucial for Pag-asa Island, the largest island in the KIG.

“The House of Representatives will take the lead in coming up with such a plan, being the institution responsible for the national budget and national policies that need legislation,” Romualdez said.

A key priority, he said, is the construction of a storm shelter for fishermen where they can take refuge during typhoons or when they experience mechanical trouble while in the high seas.

“We will also help build a solar energy plant; ice and cold storage facilities; a desalination plant; satellite-based communication facilities; and conduct seafood-based livelihood training,” he said.

Romualdez said these projects aim to address unique challenges faced by Filipino soldiers and fishermen operating in the disputed waters in the KIG, otherwise known as Spratly Islands.

“We toured the island and had lengthy conversations with our brave soldiers and kababayans in the community. This allowed us to get afirst-hand account of what’s really happening on ground and what needs to be done by Congress to address local issues,” he said.

Meanwhile, Filipino sailors meet their US Pacific Fleet counterparts aboard USS Dewey as this year’s Exercise Samasama23 continues. Ver Noveno

China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea,pointing to “ten-dash-line” on its maps that cuts into the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 said that the line onChina’s maps had no legal basis, but Beijing has refused to recognize the decision.

As this developed, the Department of National Defense said Thursday the Netherlands is interested in boosting its defense ties with the Philippines, especially in the field of naval cooperation.

Dutch Ambassador to Manila Marielle Geraedts conveyed this during her courtesy call on Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. on Oct. 2.

“The Dutch Ambassador reiterated the proposal on establishing naval defense industry cooperation with the Philippines, underscoring its strategic and economic advantages in the long term,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.

The Netherlands’ naval industry is one of the most capable in the world and is known for constructing high-quality patrol ships, corvettes, frigates, and submarines.

“Secretary Teodoro agreed and further proposed to develop broader defense cooperation, taking into consideration the importance of other areas, such as cyber and artificial intelligence, as well as the Netherlands’ potential to become a partner in these areas,” Andolong said.

He also said Teodoro proposed “greenfield opportunities” in various industries, particularly in defense and security, with the Netherlands and the European Union, to advance overall bilateral cooperation.

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