Duterte’s Pag-asa sleepover: Not now
PAG-ASA ISLAND, West Philippine Sea — President Rodrigo Duterte’s planned visit here in the Spratlys on Independence Day may have been canceled, but he still intends to stay overnight here in the future, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Friday.
Lorenzana said the President wanted to stay on Pag-asa, the biggest Philippine-controlled island in the Spratlys, so that he could spend time with the soldiers.
“Maybe in the future. He still wants to come here. He wants to stay overnight,” Lorenzana said.
“(The President) said, ‘We sleep with the troops,’” he added.
Lorenzana said Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar or another Cabinet member might visit Pag-asa on Independence Day in lieu of the President.
“Secretary Andanar might come here for the radio station (to be set up),” Lorenzana said.
The defense chief said the President’s decision to cancel his trip to Pag-asa was just his way of making “friends in the region.”
“He is just trying to develop friends in the neighborhood and China is the most powerful country in the neighborhood. They are economically powerful also,” Lorenzana said.
“I believe the President is right in talking with the Chinese leadership,” he added.
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