#Alamna! Korina Sanchez says Duterte’s turnaround on Spratlys flag-raising shows China is boss
President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to cancel his visit to one of the islands in the disputed Spratlys group in the South China Sea shows China is still the boss there, broadcaster Korina Sanchez said.
In her April 19 column for the Pilipino Star Ngayon tabloid, Sanchez said Duterte would have made a good statement if he pushed through with his plan to visit Kalayaan Island on Independence Day to plant the Philippine flag.
“Napakaganda sana ng simbolo kung natuloy ang plano ni Duterte. Araw ng Kalayaan ay nasa Kalayaan Island para itaas ang bandila,” she said.
“Pero naging malinaw kung sino ang masusunod ngayon sa karagatan. Kapag sila ang naglagay ng kagamitang militar at sandata sa mga isla, walang makapagrereklamo. Tayo, bandila lang, isyu na,” Sanchez added.
While Kalayaan is part of Palawan, the broadcaster said China must have frowned upon Duterte’s planned visit because it will affect their claim on the island– at least in the public’s eye.
“Ang ayaw ng China ay gawing ‘opisyal’ ang pag-aangkin ng Kalayaan, sa pamamagitan ng pagpunta ng pinakamataas na opisyal ng bansa, dahil magmumukhang mahina na ang kanilang pag-aangkin sa isla. Tandaan na ang China ay inaangkin ang mga isla sa South China Sea, kahit sino pang bansa ang may tauhan o sundalo nang nakadestino,” she said.
In a speech before the Filipino community in Saudi Arabia last week, Duterte said he is no longer pushing through with his plan to plant a flag on Kalayaan Island in consideration of the country’s friendship with China.
“I will not go to any of the islands. Maybe I will send my son, just to show that our claim is clearly good for all generations of Filipinos,” he said.