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Hanggang Aurora lang! Duterte drops visit to PH Rise as Palace says it’s ‘a little bit far’

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President Rodrigo Duterte’s much awaited and much publicized visit to the Philippine Rise did not push through because doing so would be a “logistical nightmare,” Malacañang said Tuesday (May 15).

Duterte only stayed onboard BRP Davao Del Sur, which was docked somewhere in Casiguran, Aurora, to send off 50 Filipino scientists who would conduct research in the resource-rich undersea plateau.

He was greeted by various government officials, including Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, when his chopper landed at BRP Davao Del Sur’s hangar.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said it was not feasible for Duterte to travel to Philippine Rise.

“It’s a little bit far. It’s 120 nautical miles away. And it’s a logistical nightmare. So this is symbolic,” he said.

Roque noted that the trip only meant to symbolize the country’s ownership of the Philippine Rise since it is located under the sea.

“Sa akin sapat naman itong ginawa ni President Duterte at ipahayag ang posisyon na ang tanging yaman ng Philippine Rise ay para sa mga Pilipino,” he said.

In addition to shelving the trip to Philippine Rise, Duterte also skipped riding the jet ski during his visit.

The President said during the campaign for the 2016 elections that he will ride a jet ski to Scarborough Shoal to plant the Philippine flag to assert the country’s sovereignty.