A Chinese flag mounted on a steel pipe was discovered planted on a sand cay located seven nautical miles northeast off Kota Island, according to Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano. Magdalo Party-list/Released

Alejano: Chinese flag planted near Philippines-controlled island
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - August 22, 2017 - 9:10am

MANILA, Philippines — A Chinese flag has been planted on a sandbar near Philippines-controlled Kota Island in the West Philippine Sea, according to Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano.

The Chinese flag mounted on a steel pipe was discovered around the third week of July, according to information that Alejano received.

"A Chinese vessel allegedly erected the said three-meter high Chinese flag on a sand cay which is known to be within a Philippine-controlled area," Alejano said in a media release.

Following such reports, Alejano called on government officials, particularly the Department of Foreign Affairs, to be transparent on issues regarding the disputed waters.

The Magdalo representative said that the government's silence and inaction are not helping while the Chinese are supposedly acting on the ground.

A Chinese vessel allegedly erected a 3-meter high Chinese flag on a sand cay which is known to be within a Philippine-controlled area. Magdalo Party-list/Released

Magdalo includes retired military and police personnel in the marginalized sectors that it claims to represent in Congress.

"While the Philippines is pursuing bilateral engagements with China, the government has the responsibility to inform the public through providing appropriate and careful information meant for public consumption," Alejano said.

Alejano also urged Beijing to stay true to its public pronouncements by matching its actions on the ground.

The statement comes after Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano assured the public that the government is resolving the West Philippine Sea dispute with China in a diplomatic manner.

READ: Cayetano cites 'change' of South China Sea strategy

"'Yung diplomatic protest maraming paraan 'yan. It could be in person, it could be bilateral meeting it could be in the bilateral consultation mechanism, form of a note verbale. We’re just not announcing to you," Cayetano told reporters.

Meanwhile, Alejano said that the Filipino people are entitled to know that Philippine national interests are not set aside.

"Besides being an issue of territorial integrity, it also has immediate security and economic implications which definitely mean something to our fellow Filipinos living in the area," Alejano said.

Cayetano, on the other hand, reiterated that the Duterte administration is not giving up a single inch of Philippine territory.

"Let me assure you that despite the lack of details that we give you, we will tell you if there is an alarming station or if the public is in danger," Cayetano said.

RELATED: US think tank: Philippines illegally occupying 2 islands in Spratlys

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