SM MOA-sized structure rising in West PH Sea - DND

by Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2015 12:17 AM | Updated as of Nov 04 2016 03:40 PM

MANILA - Aerial intelligence photos taken from January 28 to 31, 2015 have revealed massive structures and large-scale reclamation being done by China in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.

ABS-CBN News acquired photographs of Gaven Reef showing a wide six-story structure that military sources believe may be a military command structure.

A second set of photographs show a suction dredger pouring sand onto a new section of Mischief Reef, which means early signs of new reclamation activity.

The Department of National Defense (DND) confirmed that the structures are identical to what they have on record.

DND spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez describes the multi-story structure as the "Mall of KIG," comparing it in size to the large SM Mall of Asia (MOA) in Manila.

The DND also confirmed that similar structures and construction activities can now be found in Chigua Reef, Cuarteron Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Mabini Reef, and Subi Reef.

Galvez says this puts the Philippines in a complicated situation because China continues to fortify its islands while the Philippines remains hopeful that the arbitration case will compel China to stand down.

Galvez worries that the garrisons, airstrips, and military structures now found in the South China Sea could, in the near future, give China control of both the air and sea in the Spratly Islands, making it possible for them to monitor and drive away any vessel they do not see fit to pass.