MANILA — Sen. Gringo Honasan on Friday said that he supports the pitch of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to raise the Philippine flag in Pag-asa Island on Independence Day (June 12) to assert the country’s sovereign rights in the disputed area.
Pag-asa Island is the seat of government of Kalayaan municipality, where there are over 200 residents.
Pres. Duterte first made the pitch to raise the Philippine flag during his visit to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the Western Command (WESCOM) in Palawan on Thursday.
“We have to maintain our jurisdiction in the areas we claim,” Pres. Duterte said, stressing that the Philippines tries to be friends with other claimant countries in the disputed region.
Honasan, on his official Twitter account, said that there is nothing unconstitutional about the President’s plan.
“There’s nothing immoral or unconstitutional with raising the Philippine flag on Philippine territory and for our elected Pres. Rody Duterte to visit any part of the Philippines,” Honasan said via Twitter.
He pointed out there is no argument over being constitutionally bound since the island the President would be raising the flag is Philippine territory.
“There is no argument over what we are constitutionally bound to do over something that is already ours. It is procedural. And if necessary… “mamatay nang dahil sayo,” he added.
Aside from raising the Philippine flag in Pag-asa Island, the President has ordered the AFP to occupy islands being claimed by the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea and make its presence there strong to ensure the safety of Filipino fishermen and residents of Pag-asa Island.
The President also wanted to rename Benham Rise to Philippine Ridge to “officially” claim it.
This after the Department of National Defense (DND) reported a Chinese survey ship was seen plying the waters of Benham Rise for around three months last year.
Chinese Embassy, however, denied that it intentionally sailed to Benham Rise as the ship simply passed by the area noting that they had the right of freedom of navigation. Azer Parrocha/PNA-northboundasia.com