There are plans to develop Rancudo Airfield in Pagasa Island into an airport capable of handling planes in all kinds of weather, Department of National Defense (DND) public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong said in an interview Monday.
And, while there is no exact timetable yet for the Rancudo Airfield upgrade, he said improvements will include concreting of the dirt runway and installation of additional safety features.
Andolong said there is an urgent need to upgrade the said facility as ferrying supplies by sea is quite a difficult task due to the inclement weather conditions in the area, making it difficult for ships to dock and unload cargoes in Pagasa Island.
He also added that a concrete runway will allow day and night operations in Rancudo Airfield despite stormy weather, providing a much needed lifeline to the residents in case of medical emergencies.
The DND public affairs office chief said improvement of Rancudo Airfield is one of the upgrades being pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte, aside from upgrades in the living and sleeping quarters of troops stationed in the Kalayaan Island Group.
Pagasa Island, the hosting site of Rancudo Airfield, measures 32 hectares and is the largest Philippine-owned feature in the Kalayaan Island Group.
This is followed by Likas Island which measures 18.6 hectares; Parolo Island, 12.7 hectares; Lawak Island 7.93 hectares; Kota Island, 6. 45 hectares; Patag Island, 0.57; Panata Island, 0.44; Rizal, Balagtas and Ayungin Reefs.