President Duterte together with defense and security officials on May 15 went to the eastern coast of the Philippines in Aurora to send off Filipino scientists who will conduct maritime scientific research in Philippine Rise.
Instead of President Duterte, Presidential son Baste Duterte and Special Assistant to the President Secretary Bong Go went on jet skiing with the Philippine flag.
The visit also commemorated the April 2012 United Nations declaration that Philippine Rise is part of Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and extended continental shelf; and the renaming of Benham Rise to Philippine Rise by Duterte last May 2017.
“Ito po ay symbolic at the same time assertive,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
“Symbolic, dahil—ang Philippine Rise naman po talaga ay iyong lupa at mga bato sa ilalim ng karagatan, hindi kami makakarating doon ‘no, doon lang kami sa karagatan sa ibabaw ng continental shelf,” Roque said.
He said that it was “assertive” because it shows the government’s policy to prohibit foreign scientific research and prioritize only Filipino scientists to carry out research in the Philippine Rise.
“Pero ito ay nagpapakita na ang polisiya ng gobyerno ngayon ay talaga pong atin na hindi na muna natin ishe-share sa ibang dayuhan,” he added.
Sources: https://web.facebook.com/christopherbong.go/posts/868465883360444; http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1035262