Will he ride a jetski? Duterte eyes planting flag on Pag-asa Island on June 12
President Rodrigo Duterte is considering going to Pag-asa Island (also known as Thitu Island) on Independence Day in a bid to assert the Philippines’ sovereignty amid an ongoing maritime row with China in the South China Sea.
In a speech after visiting soldiers in Palawan Thursday (April 6), Duterte stressed the need to “maintain our jurisdiction over South China Sea.”
” Sa Independence Day natin, I may go to Pag-Asa Island to raise the flag there,” he said.
As of 2008, Pag-Asa Island is the only Philippine-occupied Spratly island that has many structures. It is the lone barangay in the municipality of Kalayaan in Palawan.
Duterte’s announcement is reminiscent of the campaign promise he made before the 2016 elections when he vowed to ride a jetski to the Spratlys Group of Island and plant a flag there.
However, he recently said he will just go to the Spratlys on board a helicopter– because it was offered by China.
After drawing flak for saying nothing can be done about China’s reclamation of areas in the South China Sea, Duterte announced that he has ordered the Armed Forces to occupy all of the country’s territories in the disputed waters.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, where about US$5 trillion worth of seaborne goods pass every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.