MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said he wants to upgrade the runways in Batanes province to make the delivery of relief supplies easier as well as "for national security reasons."
After doing an aerial inspection of the damage caused by Saturday's earthquakes on Itbayat island, Duterte said Batanes' runways needed to be extended.
There are two runways in the province, one on the main island of Batan, in the provincial capital of Basco, and another on the island-municipality of Itbayat which is used by small planes.
"I'm interested on the project of extending both the runways for national security reasons. It could be a very crucial factor in the days to come, not in our generation... but malay mo? (who knows?)," Duterte said during a briefing with government officials in Basco.
Duterte also ordered the Philippine Coast Guard to patrol Batanes islands to ensure “those islands will remain ours."
During the briefing, Duterte mentioned how the country lost control of parts of the West Philippines Sea to the Chinese.
The President however also maintained that the areas under Chinese control were not part of Philippine territory but only of the country's exclusive economic zone.
Duterte said the government would allot P40 million for a new hospital in Batanes.