PRESIDENT Duterte yesterday asserted in front of the Filipino-Chinese community and Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua that parts of the South China Sea and the the Philippine Rise in the Pacific Ocean are owned by the Philippines.
In his speech at the 10th Biennial Convention and 20th Founding Anniversary celebration of the Chinese Filipino Business Club in Manila Hotel, Duterte took exception to criticisms that he is not doing anything about China’s assertive moves.
“In so far as the Republic of the Philippines is concerned, I am ready to put my presidency, my career as president, my life and all (on the line). That is ours,” he said.
He said China’s military installations in the disputed islands were intended for the United States, not the Philippines.
“It is really intended against those who the Chinese think will destroy them. And it is America,” he said.
As far as the Philippine Rise is concerned, Duterte assured that government has not allowed other countries to continue to exploit the area.
He said the Chinese markings on the islands were placed in past explorations by the Chinese.
He said maybe someday the Chinese will tie up with the Philippines in a joint exploration of resources, but reminded them that the area is under Philippine jurisdiction.
“Benham Rise is ours. The whole of the China Sea, you have already claimed it, that is up to Japan. But this Philippine Rise is ours, period. The continental shelf below is Philippine jurisdiction. That is ours,” Duterte said.
He said attachments to the continental shelf below the sea is still considered owned by the Philippines even if its stretches all the way to Guam, a US territory.