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Pinoys urged to donate books, pencils to Pag-asa Island school

June 28, 2012 12:49pm

A party-list group on Thursday urged Filipinos to donate books, pencils and other supplies to the newly built school on a disputed island off Palawan in the West Philippine Sea.
 
The Akbayan party-list launched a donation drive entitled “Be patriotic. Donate” to gather supplies for the school on Pag-asa Island, which started classes last week with five kindergarten students.

Donors are encouraged to send school supplies to the party-list’s headquarters at 36-B Madasalin St., Sikatuna Village in Quezon City.
 
“One way for us to show our patriotism in securing sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea is to support the residents of Pag-asa in their endeavor to provide education for their children,” Risa Hontiveros, the group’s spokesperson, said in a statement.
 
The territory on which the school was built is part of the disputed Spratly Islands, a group of islets believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits. Pag-asa is the largest of eight Philippine-claimed islands in the area that Manila calls Kalayaan Island Group.
 
The Spratly Islands are being claimed in whole or in part by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.
 
China has expressed opposition to the building of the school, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei even describing the setting up of the educational facility on Pag-asa Island as an “illegal activity that may infringe on China’s sovereignty.”

The Philippine government, however, maintained that Pag-asa Island, which lies 527 kilometers west of Palawan, is part of its territory.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello meanwhile called on the Aquino administration to allocate funds for the school on Pag-asa Island in the budget for next year.
 
“We have to ensure that funds for the construction of a school building and other necessary materials will be allocated from the government's general appropriations,” Bello said in a separate statement.
 
Bello, along with four other House members, visited the Kalayaan Islands last year in what the lawmakers called a “peace and sovereignty mission.” — RSJ, GMA News
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