President Rodrigo Duterte said that while conducting an aerial inspection in Batanes he saw two islands without structures.
“There are two islands – big ones. Sabi ko kay [Itbayat Mayor Raul de Sagon]: Is it ours? I don’t see any [structures]. Maganda siguro lagyan mo ng sort of a symbolic [structure],” President Duterte said during the situation briefing with local and national government officials regarding the extent of damage and efforts being done.
“Sayang, agawan ngayon e. Nakawan ngayon ng lupa. Inumpisahan ng Intsik. Eh puro Intsik to, Taiwan eh,” he added.
President Duterte directed Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) patrol vessels to standby and take turns in patrolling the islands in the northern part of the country from time to time.
“Just to assure that those islands will remain ours, kasi mahirap na ngayon kung nakawan natin ang China baka upakan tayo doon ng mga missiles na hindi natin kaya,” he explained.
He said that all government workers should preserve the Republic of the Philippines. “Whatever is ours should be very clear to everybody that it is ours,” he said.