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China planted flag on PH isle, Magdalo says

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A STAUNCH critic of President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday revealed the presence of a Chinese fishing vessel that planted a Chinese flag near Philippine-controlled Kota Island.

Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said he had received another information that it was a Chinese fishing vessel with Bow Number 23168 that planted the flag.

“The information came from the same informant who reported the presence of a Chinese flotilla on Pag-asa Island, which was later on admitted by the Philippine and Chinese governments,” said Alejano, a former marine officer. 

Two weeks ago, he said a Chinese flag mounted on a three-meter high steel pipe was planted by a Chinese vessel on a sandbar seven nautical miles northeast off Kota Island towards the end of July. The sandbar is part of the network of sandbars, coral reefs and atolls between Kota and Panata Islands occupied and controlled by the Philippines.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano earlier said the incident was not a cause for concern.

But Alejano said there had been more incidents detrimental to the interest of the country, which had not come out in the open because Philippine government officials had opted to reveal them.

On Aug. 29, Alejano said the Armed Forces admitted there was indeed such incident, but that no flag was found but instead a sack placed on a pole that could have served as markers by those who had planted it there.

“I understand the predicament of the AFP. They cannot go against the policy of the president. Those who removed the flag will not report it as a Chinese flag if it was just a sack,” Alejano said.

“I am not against China. I support talking with China but it should not be at the expense of our interest in the West Philippine Sea.”

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