Duterte fails to reach Philippine Rise
ONBOARD BRP DAVAO DEL SUR – After much anticipation and hype, President Rodrigo Duterte failed to reach the Philippine Rise on Tuesday.
The Presidential chopper landed at the hangar of the BRP Davao del Sur at 3:45 p.m., almost two hours late from his scheduled arrival.
President Duterte was accompanied by Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go as they alighted from the chopper under fair weather and calm seas.
Top military officials and government executives welcomed the President in a ceremony held to send-off 50 Filipino scientists who would conduct scientific research in the 13 million hectare resource-rich Philippine Rise.
The officials and personalities present were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino, Sen. Win Gatchalian, and actor Robin Padilla.
Despite his failure to reach Philippine Rise, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the presence of President Duterte during the send-off of Filipino scientists remained “symbolic.”
The President first announced his visit to the Philippine Rise on the last week of April.
It was Roque who announced in a Palace briefing that the Chief Executive would visit the continental shelf on May 15 to 16.
“This is symbolic because this is the trip to Philippine Rise and we are here to send-off the Filipino scientists,” Roque said in an interview after the send-off.
Pressed why the President did not go through with his trip to the Philippine Rise, Roque said it was too far and it was not feasible for the President to visit there.
“It’s a little bit far. It’s 120 nautical miles away. And it’s a logistic nightmare. So this is symbolic,” he said.
“Tsaka ang Philippine Rise is actually nasa ilalim ng dagat so ang ginagawa natin ngayon dito ay symbolic na inaangkin natin ang atin at sinasabi ng Presidente na ang tanging yaman dito sa area na ito ay sa Pilipino lamang,” he added.
(And the Philippine Rise is actually under the sea so what we’re doing here today is a symbolic gesture claiming what is ours and the President said that the resources in this area are for the Filipinos only.)
But during his speech, the President was under the impression that he was already in Philippine Rise as he mentioned that foreign ships used to freely do research in the area.
PH Rise is for Filipinos
The Palace official believed that President Duterte was able to send his message to the world.
“Tingin ko napadala naman niya ang mensahe niya sa buong daigdig na tanging Pilipino lamang ang makikinabang sa Philippine Rise,” he said.
(I believe that he was able to send the message to the whole world that only the Filipinos will benefit from the Philippine Rise.)
“So sa akin sapat naman itong ginawa ni President Duterte at ipahayag ang posisyon na ang tanging yaman ng Philippine Rise ay para sa mga Pilipino,” he added.
(So for me, what the President has done is enough in declaring that the resources of the Philippine Rise is for the Filipinos.)
The presidential chopper left here at 5:50 p.m. / vvp, je
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