President Rodrigo Duterte has cancelled his plans to raise the Philippine flag in Kalayaan town, Pag-asa Island in the disputed Spratly Group of Islands. on Independence Day, June 12. He made the announcement this Wednesday, April 12 during his visit in Saudi Arabia. As a result, singer Jim Paredes called the president a coward.
“It is not in my country, but I would like to correct myself along the way here. I said I will go to the island of Kalayaan, Pag-asa, on June 12, to raise the Filipino flag there,” President Duterte said in front of around 2,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia who gathered at the Riyadh Marriott Hotel to see him.
“If every heads of state of the contending parties around the West Philippine Sea will go there to plant their flags, there will likely be trouble. Because of our friendship with China, I will not go there to raise the Philippine flag. Maybe I will send my son just to show that the blood of the claimant.” The tough talking president added.
During his presidential campaign last year, Duterte said if he gets elected, he has no plans of engaging war against China. However, he will ask the Philippine Navy to bring him to the nearest point in South China Sea, adding that he will ride a jet ski to the Spratlys islands. He said he will erect a Filipino flag once he got there, and will risk his life alone.
Early this month, President Duterte said he has ordered the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to occupy all the islands in South China Sea. He said he instructed them to build structures and place the Philippine flag there, as a sign of his strong insistence of maintaining the country’s jurisdiction over the disputed territories.
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But because President Duterte had a change of plans, his critics took it against him. This includes Jim Paredes, who is a known supporter of the Liberal Party (LP) and the Aquinos since the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986. “Naduwag. Takot sa China. (Got coward. Afraid of China)” The APO Hiking Society member tweeted.