PH halts plan to raise flag in disputed islands

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2017 09:52 AM | Updated as of Apr 21 2017 10:36 AM

The government has postponed plans to raise the Philippine flag in some of the disputed islands in the South China sea, military officials said Friday.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the military to build structures and raise the Philippine flag in South China Sea islands that belong to the country.

"Maaaring matuloy pa ang flag raising dito sa June 12 pero hindi na dadating dito si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte dahil sa mga sensitivities," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters.

Lorenzana, along with other high-ranking military officials, sailed to Pag-asa Island Friday morning to assess the living conditions of Filipinos residing in the disputed territory.

Pag-asa Island, a small municipality with at least 40 residents, is only a few miles away from Subi Reef, one of the seven man-made islands constructed by China. 

Pag-asa Island is already dwarfed by the sprawling city structures on Subi Reef, ABS-CBN reporter Chiara Zambrano said in a report on DZMM.

China has also been sending warnings to Philippine air crafts flying near the disputed territories, she said.

The Defense chief's visit came a day after reports of Chinese Coast Guard allegedly harassing Filipino fishermen in the disputed waters surfaced.