|Municipality of Kalayaan|
Map of Palawan with Kalayaan highlighted
|South China Sea and Philippines|
|Region||Mimaropa (Region IV-B)|
|District||1st District of Palawan|
|Founded||June 11, 1978|
|• Type||Sangguniang Bayan|
|• Mayor||Eugenio B. Bito-onon Jr.|
|• Electorate||335 voters (2016)|
|• Total||290.00 km2 (111.97 sq mi)|
|Population (2015 census)|
|• Density||0.63/km2 (1.6/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
|IDD : area code||+63 (0)48|
|Climate type||tropical climate|
|Income class||5th municipal income class|
Part of the Spratly Group of Islands, situated within the South China Sea, the Kalayaan municipality, which includes the Pagasa (Thitu) island, is 280 nautical miles north-west of Puerto Princesa and 932 kilometres (579 mi) south-west of Metro Manila. It consist of a single barangay located on Pag-asa Island, which also serves as the seat of the municipal government. It is the least populated municipality in the Philippines. Kalayaan's annual budget is 47 million pesos (about $1.1 million).
Pag-asa Island has a dilapidated airstrip, a 5-bed lying-in clinic, and a small elementary school.
There are records of the island having been inhabited, at various times in history, by the Chinese and by people from the Champa Kingdom of Vietnam, and during the second world war, French Indochina and Imperial Japanese troops. However, there were no large settlements on these islands till 1956, when Filipino lawyer, businessman, adventurer and fishing magnate Tomás Cloma decided to "claim" a part of Spratly islands as his own, naming it the "Free Territory of Freedomland".
On May 11, 1956, together with forty men, Tomás Cloma took formal possession of the islands, lying some 380 miles west of the southern end of Palawan and named them the "Free Territory of Freedomland". Four days later Cloma issued and posted copies of his "Notice to the Whole World" on each of the islands as "a decisive manifestation of unwavering claim over the territory".
On May 31, 1956, Cloma declared the establishment of the Free Territory of Freedomland, ten days after he sent his second representation to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs,[which?] informing the latter that the territory claimed was named "Freedomland".
On July 6, 1956, Cloma declared to the whole world his claim and the establishment of a separate government for the "Free Territory of Freedomland" with its capital on Flat Island (Patag Island). His declaration was met with violent and unfriendly reactions from several neighboring countries especially the Republic of China (ROC; on Taiwan since 1949) when on September 24, 1956 it effectively garrisoned the nearby island of Itu Aba and intercepted Cloma's men and vessels found within its immediate waters.
Presidential Decree 1596
President Ferdinand E. Marcos created the Municipality of Kalayaan by signing PD 1596 into law on June 11, 1978. This established what the document described as "a distinct and separate municipality of the Province of Palawan".
PD 1596 defined the boundaries of the municipality as follows:
- From a point [on the Philippine Treaty Limits] at latitude 7º40' North and longitude 116º00' East of Greenwich, thence due West along the parallel of 7º40' N to its intersection with the meridian of longitude 112º10' E, thence due north along the meridian of 112º10' E to its intersection with the parallel of 9º00' N, thence north-eastward to the intersection of parallel of 12º00' N with the meridian of longitude 114º30' E, thence, due East along the parallel of 12º00' N to its intersection with the meridian of 118º00' E, thence, due South along the meridian of longitude 118º00' E to its intersection with the parallel of 10º00' N, thence Southwestwards to the point of beginning at 7º40' N, latitude and 116º00' E longitude.
i.e. 7º40'N 116º00'E; west to 7º40'N 112º10'E; north to 9º00'N 112º10'E; NE to 12º00'N 114º30'E; east to 12º00'N 118º00'E; south to 10º00'N 118º00'E; SW to 7º40'N 116º00'E.
Republic Act 9522
Republic Act 9522 of 2009, which defined the archipelagic baselines of the Philippines, claimed sovereignty over the Kalayaan Island Group under Section 2, sub-paragraph A which described the territory as a "Regime of Islands"—a concept defined in the United Nation Convention on Law of the Sea for similar bodies of land.
In addition to the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Vietnam claim all claim the Spratley Archipelago either as a whole or in part. The Philippines occupies 10 reefs and islands. The People's Republic of China presently occupies seven (7) reefs. The Republic of China (Taiwan)'s solitary island is the largest in the archipelago at approximately 43 hectares. Vietnam occupies 21 islets and reefs. Malaysia claims 7 reefs including Layang Layang which currently hosts a naval base and a diving resort. Interest in the archipelago was reportedly triggered by Cloma’s declaration and subsequent assertion by the Philippines.
In March 1976, President Marcos issued the Letter of Instruction (LOI) No.1-76 organizing the AFP Western Command based in Palawan in response to the heightening conflict of interest in the region and to abate any untoward incident.
The Municipality of Kalayaan is located in the western section of the Province of Palawan. It consists of one barangay, Pag-asa, and currently exercises jurisdiction over eight islets (three of which are cays) and two reefs, with an aggregate land area of approximately 79 hectares. They are:
|Pag-asa||Thitu Island||32.7 hectares (81 acres)||Island|
|Likas||West York Island||18.6 hectares (46 acres)||Island|
|Parola||Northeast Cay||12.7 hectares (31 acres)||Cay|
|Lawak||Nanshan Island||07.9 hectares (20 acres)||Island|
|Kota||Loaita Island||06.5 hectares (16 acres)||Island|
|Patag||Flat Island||0.57 hectares (1.4 acres)||Cay|
|Panata||Lankiam Cay||0.44 hectares (1.1 acres)||Cay|
|Balagtas||Irving Reef||0 hectares (0 acres)||Reef|
|Ayungin||Second Thomas Reef||0 hectares (0 acres)||Reef|
|Rizal||Commodore Reef||0 hectares (0 acres)||Reef|
The islets that comprise the Municipality are generally flat. The highest ground elevation is approximately two (2) meters above sea level.
|Population census of Kalayaan|
|Source: Philippine Statistics Authority|
In the 2015 census, the population of Kalayaan was 184 people, with a density of 0.63 inhabitants per square kilometre or 1.6 inhabitants per square mile.
Pag-asa island hosts a 1,300 meter runway constructed in the early 70s on orders of MGEN Jose Rancudo, Commanding General of the Philippine Air Forces. In February 1992, the Armed Forces of the Philippines named the runway "Rancudo Airfield" in honor of its architect.
Smart Telecommunications established a cell site, connected to its main network via VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal), on the island in 2005 making normal GSM-based cellphone communication with the island possible. The first call on the system took place on June 12 at 5:18 PM between the mayor of the municipality at the time and a Smart Telecom executive. The company completed a maintenance visit to the cell site in 2011, thus ensuring continued operation of the facility.
On June 8, 1982, Kota (Loaita) and Panata (Lankiam) islands were designated are marine turtle sanctuaries by the Ministry of National Resources (MNR) Administrative Order No.8.
The first recorded election in Kalayaan during the post Marcos dictatorship was on January 30, 1980 where Mr. Aloner M. Heraldo was elected as the first Municipal Mayor.
The Municipality of Kalayaan "demilitarized" on January 18, 1988, and the first appointed Mayor, Alejandro Rodriguez, was replaced by his appointed Vice Mayor, Gaudencio R. Avencena.
The first free election was held on May 11, 1992, where mostly young Municipal officers under the leadership of Mayor Gil D. Policarpio served for nine years (1992-2001).
A new administration assumed office on July 2, 2001, when Mayor Rosendo L. Mantes won the election on May 14, 2001.
- Sansha, Hainan, China
- Trường Sa, Khánh Hòa, Vietnam
- Philippines and the Spratly Islands
- Spratly Islands dispute
- Free Territory of Freedomland
- Territorial disputes in the South China Sea
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Kalayaan.|