The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff, General Cirilito Sobejana. | PN File

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff, General Cirilito Sobejana, has promised the military’s support for the development of Pag-asa and the security of the Kalayaan Islands Group (KIG).

Sobejana acknowledged the need to turn Pag-asa Island into a “logistics hub” to protect KIG’s biodiversity and the livelihood of its fishing communities in a virtual meeting with Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez, who is also the chairperson of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) on July 19, a press statement released Wednesday by the AFP said.

“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,” Sobejana said.

Sobejana also commended the Palawan provincial government’s efforts to safeguard the nation’s interests, particularly its proposal to designate the KIG as a protected area under the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (Republic Act 7586).

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Also included in the virtual discussion is the future development of Pag-asa as a refuge for Filipino fishermen as well as a potential tourist attraction is being discussed.

“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,” Sobejana added.

He said such a move would need the development and building of infrastructure targeted at maintaining the island’s economic growth.

Present in the meeting were Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta, PCSD Executive Director; Maj. Gen. Rene Diaz, AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, J4; and Brig. Gen. Rene Raoul Rommel Honasan, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, AJ4.

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