The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. of Kalayaan town in Palawan said on Friday they are not recognizing the Vietnamese declaration claiming the Spratlys and nearby Paracel Islands as their own.
"We do not recognize that (as) we are a regime of islands under the Philippine government," he stressed.
Bito-onon said that the Kalayaan municipality has been in existence for 34 years now under Philippine jurisdiction, adding that they had just celebrated their foundation day last June 11.
The Vietnamese National Assembly passed the country's new maritime law Thursday asserting its sovereignty over the Spratlys and Paracels, triggering a strong response from China.
Beijing for its part established a prefecture that governs all the disputed islands in the South China Sea.
The Vietnamese assembly said that Vietnam has legal and historical basis to affirm its sovereignty and that Vietnam's new law will not affect the process seeking a solution to the disputes.
Kalayaan is a 6th class municipality in the province of Palawan. It is composed of only one barangay named Pag-Asa.
The island has a 1.3-kilometer airstrip that is used both by the military and civilians.
It has a regulated civilian population of about 350, most of whom are fishermen. Once a month, a Philippine Navy ship goes to the island to drop supplies of goods.
The island has a water-filtering plant, power generators, weather stations and a communication tower which is built by the Philippine-based SMART Telecommunications.