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A Philippine soldier patrols a beach on Pagasa Island at the Spratly group of islands in South China Sea, west of Palawan. (File Photo)
A Philippine soldier patrols a beach on Pagasa Island at the Spratly group of islands in South China Sea, west of Palawan. (File Photo)

Duterte Calls for Occupying Islands in South China Sea

Duterte Calls for Occupying Islands in South China Sea

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he has ordered the armed forces to occupy all islands of the Philippines in South China Sea to strengthen the country’s claims.

“We have to maintain our jurisdiction over South China Sea,” Duterte told reporters in Palawan, ABS CBN News reported.

Duterte said he has ordered the military to build structures and raise the Philippine flag in islands that belong to the country.

Duterte added that he plans to visit Pagasa (Thitu) Island on Independence Day, June 12, to raise the Philippine flag there.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana last month said the president has ordered for the repair of facilities on Pagasa Island.

Manila is involved in an arbitration dispute with Beijing over the South China Sea. Last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, invalidated China’s claim and declared that Beijing had violated Manila’s rights to fish and explore for resources in the disputed waters.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre told reporters last month that Manila would file a complaint against Beijing’s plan to install a radar station on Scarborough Shoal.

 

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