Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 29) — The Philippines did not lose a single inch of its territory under President Rodrigo Duterte’s watch, the country’s top diplomat said, even promising to quit public office if proven wrong.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday challenged critics to provide evidence that the Duterte administration failed in protecting the country’s rights over disputed islands in the South China Sea.
“Ano man ang profession nila (Whatever their profession may be) – justice sila, pulitiko (politician) sila, newsman, journalist – if we lost a single island during Duterte’s time, I will pack my bags, go home, and I will not serve the public in any elected or appointed position,” Cayetano said in a lengthy speech at his department’s flag-raising ceremony.
He said he was reacting to an article he read Sunday, “How many islands do we have?” A column was published on the Philippine Star that day, titled “How many islands does Phl still have?”
Columnist Federico Pascual Jr. said, “A confident China has stepped up its setting up of military installations on artificial islands built in the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone with Duterte looking the other way.”