Residents of Kalayaan town in West Philippines Sea continue to suffer lack of food supply

By Archie T. Barone

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Nov. 9 (PNA) — Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. said lack of food supply remains a problem by residents of the island town in the disputed West Philippines Sea due to distance, harsh weather condition, and absence of regular transportation.

Despite this, the Kalayaan mayor said over the weekend that the municipal government administration is doing its best to serve the needs of around 200 residents, who live on the island town that is distantly-located from mainland Palawan.

Just on Nov. 4, Bito-onon said the island town’s official sea transport, M/V Queen Seagull, left Puerto Princesa to bring 60-80 sacks of rice as four-month supply for residents.

The specialized sea transportation, locally called “batil,” also brought to Kalayaan gasoline, lumber, cement bags, and other necessary food items.

Another problem on the island, Bito-onon said, was that their two generator sets have now malfunctioned – residents no longer have regular power. The problem has been going on for a month.

He said they are already dependent on the solar home panels, and the municipal government just taps power from the generator of a cell site there to maintain operation.

To repair the generator sets, the municipal government of Kalayaan would need Php 2.6 million, including the purchase of new transmission lines to get power to residential homes in Kalayaan.

Bito-onon said the residents of Kalayaan, though experiencing challenges, remain positive that soon, lasting development would also come to them. (PNA)