MANILA, Philippines – A Philippine official says he has opened a small kindergarten school on a South China Sea island that is also claimed by five other countries.
Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon said Sunday that his aim was to help the 37-hectare (91-acre) island's civilian community and not to antagonize rival claimant countries. The school was inaugurated without fanfare on June 15 with five students, their parents and a teacher. A Philippine flag fluttered in the breeze in the schoolyard.
The Philippines calls the island Pag-asa — or "hope" in Tagalog. It is guarded by Filipino troops.
It is part of the Spratlys archipelago. China, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam also claim the islands.