President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to claim jurisdiction over the islands in the West Philippine Sea.
President Duterte laid this plan during his visit at the Western Command in Palawan Thursday, April 6.
“We tried to be friends with everybody but we have to maintain our jurisdiction now at least the area where we have control. I have ordered the armed forces to occupy all at least 9 or 10 (islands). Lagyan ng structure and the Philippine flag,” Duterte said.
He added that on the commemoration of Independence Day in June he might go to Pag-asa Island to raise the flag himself.
“Basta yung bakante (isla) na ‘yung atin na, tirahan na natin. Mukhang agawan na ito ng isla. What is ours now at least kunin na natin and we make a strong point that it is ours,” he said.
He also confirmed that the development in Pag-asa Island has his full backing, as well as that of Benham Rise.
“The development there has my full support. Gagastos tayo sa fortification d’yan.