|Municipality of Kalayaan|
|Founded||June 11, 1978|
|• Type||Sangguniang Bayan|
|• Mayor||Roberto M. del Mundo|
|• Vice Mayor||Hermoso A. Ornopia|
|• Representative||Franz Josef George E. Alvarez|
|• Electorate||391 voters (2019)|
|• Total||290.00 km2 (111.97 sq mi)|
|Elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Highest elevation||14 m (46 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
(2020 census) 
|• Density||0.67/km2 (1.7/sq mi)|
|• Income class||5th municipal income class|
|• Revenue||₱59,743,684.44 (2016)|
|• Electricity||Kalayaan Municipal Electric System (KAMES)|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (PST)|
|IDD : area code||+63 (0)48|
|Climate type||tropical climate|
Kalayaan, officially the Municipality of Kalayaan (Tagalog: Bayan ng Kalayaan), is a 5th class municipality in the West Philippine Sea under the jurisdiction of the province of Palawan, Philippines. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 193 people. 
Part of the Spratly Islands, situated within the West Philippine Sea, the Kalayaan municipality, which includes Pag-asa Island (the administrative center of Kalayaan Island Group) is 280 nautical miles north-west of Puerto Princesa and 932 kilometres (579 mi) south-west of Metro Manila. It consists 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).
Kalayaan municipality has an airstrip, a naval port, a five-bed lying-in clinic, a police station, a coast guard station, 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 Champa in present-day Vietnam, and during the Second World War by French Indochina and Imperial Japanese troops. However, there were no large settlements on these islands until 1956, when Filipino lawyer, businessman, adventurer and fishing magnate Tomás Cloma decided to "claim" a part of the Spratly Islands as his own, naming it the "Free Territory of Freedomland".
On May 11, 1956, together with forty men, Cloma took formal possession of the islands, lying some 380 miles (610 km) 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 sending his second representation to the Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs, informing the latter that the territory claimed was named "Freedomland".
On July 6, 1956, Cloma declared his claim to the whole world 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 it effectively garrisoned the nearby island of Itu Aba and intercepted Cloma's men and vessels found within its immediate waters on September 24, 1956.
Presidential Decree No. 1596
President Ferdinand E. Marcos created the Municipality of Kalayaan by signing Presidential Decree No. 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 No. 9522
Republic Act No. 9522, 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, and Malaysia all claim the Spratly Archipelago either as a whole or in part. The Philippines occupies 10 reefs and islands. The People's Republic of China presently occupies seven reefs. The Republic of China (Taiwan)'s solitary island is the largest in the archipelago at approximately 43 hectares (0.43 km2). 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 (four of which are cays) and three reefs, with an aggregate land area of approximately 79 hectares (0.79 km2). They are:
|Philippine name||International name|
|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||7.9 hectares (20 acres)||Island|
|Kota||Loaita Island||6.5 hectares (16 acres)||Island|
|Patag||Flat Island||0.57 hectares (1.4 acres)||Cay|
|Melchora Aquino||Loaita Cay||0.53 hectares (1.3 acres)||Cay|
|Panata||Lankiam Cay||0.44 hectares (1.1 acres)||Cay|
|Balagtas||Irving Reef||0 hectares (0 acres)||Reef|
|Ayungin||Second Thomas Shoal||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 meters above sea level.
|Climate data for Kalayaan, Palawan|
|Average high °C (°F)||27
|Average low °C (°F)||26
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||155
|Average rainy days||17.4||11.1||11.8||11.2||19.4||24.6||25.3||25.2||25.4||24.1||24.6||23.5||243.6|
|Source: Meteoblue (modeled/calculated data, not measured locally)|
|Source: Philippine Statistics Authority   |
In the 2020 census, the population of Kalayaan was 193 people,  with a density of 0.67 inhabitants per square kilometre or 1.7 inhabitants per square mile. The civilian population, which includes children, was introduced in 2001.
Pag-asa Island (Thitu) hosts a 1,300-meter runway constructed in the early 1970s on orders of Major General Jose Rancudo, Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force. In February 1992, the Armed Forces of the Philippines named the runway "Rancudo Airfield" in honor of its architect.
Beaching Ramp and Seaport
On June 9, 2020, the Department of National Defense led the inauguration of a beaching ramp on Pag-asa Island (Thitu) which was finally completed after three years. The facility enabled to bring in more materials and equipment to repair and maintain the airstrip and building of other facilities. Also, Department of Transportation (DOTR) confirmed that the new seaport and sheltered port in the Pag-asa Island (Thitu) is completed and ready to operate by June 12.
Smart Telecommunications established a cell site, connected to its main network via VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal), on Pag-asa Island (Thitu) 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. However, the cell site was inactive since 2015. On August 30, 2020, Smart Telecommunications repaired and upgraded its cell site for 4G/LTE services in Pag-asa Island (Thitu).
In April 2021, the Department of Information and Communications Technology announced the installation of free Wi-Fi facilities at Pag-asa Island Elementary School, Barangay Hall, and other sites on the Pag-asa Island. This has allowed children on the island to continue with their distance learning.
By day, the residents get electricity from a power generator owned by the municipal government. By night, they shift to stored solar power that comes from 1.5-volt solar panels installed on the Pag-asa Island. On June 12, 2021, The National Power Corporation switched on its P33 million Kalayaan Diesel Power Plant project that covered the supply, delivery and installation of the 300 kilowatt diesel generating sets, a 13.8-kilovolt (kV) distribution line and fuel oil storage tanks, providing round-the-clock power to the facilities on the Pag-asa Island.
On June 8, 1982, Kota (Loaita) and Panata (Lankiam) islands were designated as marine turtle sanctuaries by the Ministry of National Resources (MNR) when it issued Administrative Order No. 8.
The first recorded election in Kalayaan 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.
The current Mayor of the municipality is Mayor Roberto M. del Mundo, who won an upset victory on May 9, 2016.
- Rejection of Chinese claims by the Permanent Court of Arbitration
- 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
- Municipality of Kalayaan | (DILG)
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Kalayaan.|