President Duterte plans to go to Pag-asa Island someday to wave a Philippine flag there.
The Pag-asa or Kalayaan island is one of the disputed territories by Philippines and China.
Aside from this, the President has also ordered the AFP to occupy all island territories of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea as he aims to assert the rights of the country over its islands.
“Nine or ten islands there, we have to fortify. I must build bunkers there or houses, and I make provisions for habitations,” he said.
The President also said he is ready to release money for the development of the islands.
He is also determined to strengthen the Philippines’ assertion of its rights over the Benham Rise which is in the northeastern part of the Philippines.
“The development there has my full support. Gagastos ako sa fortification diyan (I will allocate budget for the fortification there), because I want to include the Benham Rise on the right side of the Philippines in the Pacific. I will officially claim it as ours. I will rename it… and I will call it the Philippine Ridge,” he said.
The President also plans to replace the vessel Sierra Madre which ran aground the Ayungin shoal.
“Atin man yun, palitan ko luxury liner, may mga waiter, pagkain swimming pool para ang sundalo tataba at least sa hirap nila, (That’s ours anyway. I will replace it with a luxury liner. There will be waiters, food and swimming pool for the soldiers so at least they will fatten up for all their hardships),” he said.
Meanwhile, according to maritime law expert UP Professor Atty. Jay Batongbacal, President Duterte’s statement seems confusing because there is no island left to occupy.
The country also submitted a complaint to which the international arbitral tribunal decided against China.
Batongbacal also argued that the President seemed to be contradicting his own statement not to provoke further tension between the Philippines and China. — Rosali Coz | UNTV News & Rescue
WATCH: Prof. Jay Batongbacal talks about PH’s maritime issues
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