Mayor Roberto del Mundo and the residents of Barangay Pag-asa in the town of Kalayaan welcomed Sen. Robin Padilla and his wife Mariel on their visit today, August 11, amid recent provocative actions by the China coast guard and its militia vessels.

They arrived on a private aircraft around 1 p.m., about a week after an incident in which China harassed two of the country’s supply boats by water-cannoning them and their Philippine Coast Guard escorts.

The boats, loaded with food, water, and other provisions, were headed on August 5 for the BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal in the contested West Philippine Sea.

Western Command commander Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos was also present to welcome him.

In his speech, Sen. Padilla assured Mayor Del Mundo and the residents of his support, committing to help establish livelihood programs for the island barangay and enhance infrastructure in other areas within Kalayaan’s jurisdiction.

Padilla was recently declared an “adopted son” of Kalayaan due to his advocacies supporting its residents.

According to Ariel Carlos, spokesperson for Kalayaan, the visit is related to assessing which projects Sen. Padilla can assist the residents with.

“The senator’s visit was well-received by the residents of Brgy. Pag-asa. They expressed their gratitude for his support and commitment to helping their community,” Carlos said.

He said the senator’s visit symbolizes a beacon of hope for the residents of Brgy. Pag-asa, and it underscores the government’s dedication to their welfare, ensuring they aren’t overlooked.