The 300-hectare airforce base undergoing clearing operations in the island municipality of Balabac will spur economic growth in southern Palawan once it becomes operational, Western Command (WESCOM) commander Vice Admiral Rene Medina said.
Admiral Medina told the WESCOM Defense Press Corps in a get-together recently that they are expecting the clearing activities in Barangay Catagupan, Balabac, to be completed soon to begin the construction of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) base.
He said the provincial government has also proposed the donation of a land area in the same town for a naval station.
“I’ve briefly spoken to the PAF, and according to them, they are closely coordinating with the provincial government. The provincial government has also informed me that they are now developing an airstrip runway in Balabac. Our meeting with the governor (Jose Alvarez) also informed us that they are also proposing an area for a naval station,” he said.
Once completed, the PAF base will open opportunities not only in Balabac but also the other towns in southern Palawan, especially with the opening soon of the trade link from the Port of Buliluyan to Kudat in Sabah, Malaysia.
The agreement for the base was signed in June 2018 between Governor Alvarez and then Lt. General Galileo Gerard Kintanar Jr., the commanding general of the PAF.
“This is a significant and historic event giving us 300 hectares of precious land in southern Palawan, in a place where we’ll hopefully call later as the Balabac Air Base of the Philippine Air Force,” Kintanar said.
Alvarez said setting aside the government property for the PAF is the provincial government’s contribution to efforts to secure the West Philippine Sea and the province’s southern border.
“Indeed, this is a big milestone for us, as we impart on securing the future of the West Philippine Sea including our southern borders. Rest assured that we have a government here that is ready anytime,” Alvarez said.
He also expressed hope that the presence of the military base will help spur economic growth in the southern corridor of the province.