“I’m ready. Walang problema ‘yan. And to make a statement, pupunta ako doon. Ang problema ang jet ski kailangan ng gasoline. Eh in the midst sa China Sea wala namang Caltex, wala namang Shell, wala namang Petron,” Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City after his arrival from Singapore.
Duterte made a promise during the May 2016 presidential campaign that he will ask the Navy to bring him to the nearest Philippine-claimed territory in the South China Sea and then he will take a jetski to a disputed island and plant the Philippine flag there.
He later said that it was just hyperbole, but assured Filipinos that the Philippines, under his leadership, will not give up anything in the disputed seas.
In ruling in favor of the Philippines’ petition, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 invalidated China’s claim over the entire South China Sea.
Duterte repeated the “jetski” statement when asked for a reaction about criticisms against his announcement that he will go to Benham Rise to make assert the country’s ownership of the undersea region.
He reiterated that he only wanted to sail to Benham Rise to make a statement.