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Thread: Duterte Wants Coast Guard to Patrol the Batanes islands, between #Taiwan & PH, & Upgrade a Runway At Batanes To Save Islands From #China ibtimes.com/duterte-wants-…
Duterte on Sunday called for the Coast Guard to patrol the Batanes island group north of Luzon, the main island in the Philippines. He also called for an upgrade of two runways on the islands of Batan& Itbayat to improve delivery of relief supplies & “for national security”.
The Batanes are halfway between Luzon and Taiwan, located on the western edge of the Philippine Sea that leads into the South China Sea further west. Batan is home to the main runway and the provincial capital of Basco. Itbayat contains the other runway used for smaller aircraft.
On Saturday 2 earthquakes of magnitude 5.4 and 5.9 jolted the islands and are blamed for the deaths of eight people and injuries to 60 others. The visit by Duterte was to inspect the damages but also presented Duterte the opportunity to talk about runway extensions & PCG patrols.
During a meeting with officials from Basco, Duterte said, “I'm interested on the project of extending both the runways for national security reasons. It could be a very crucial factor in the days to come, not in our generation... but malay mo? (who knows?)"
The “national security reasons” may stem from recent events concerning the Chinese taking control of the Spratly islands, another island group west of the Philippines in the South China Sea.
Duterte mentioned this during the briefing & called fo PCG patrols to make sure “those islands will remain ours." He did stress that the Chinese controlled areas were not part of his country’s territory but were inside the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claimed by the Philippines.
Duterte also said, “You might want to ask the Coast Guard to just go on standby. Take turns patrolling the islands from time to time — not every day, but just to assure that those islands will remain ours.
We’re in a difficult situation now. If we steal back from China, it might retaliate with a missile. We can’t take that.” He added “All of us workers in government, we’re supposed to preserve the Republic of Philippines. Whatever is ours should be clear to everybody that its ours”
My take 1: Very strange Duterte's sudden interest in islands that are not in a disputed area & China had not done anything threatening there, but but diverting the Coast Guard in that direction, he actually weakens the disputed areas.
My take 2: I think Duterte is just using the opportunity for posturing, to make himself look like he is trying to protect the Philippines, but in an area that is not at risk.
Some maps of The Batanes islands.
Oops, I meant "but by" diverting.
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