Duterte to deploy troops to the South China Sea

In a surprising turnaround, President Duterte says he has ordered troops to occupy all atolls claimed by Manila adding that he might mark Philippine Independence Day by personally raising the nation's flag on one of the disputed islands

A Philippine flag flutters from BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated navy ship that has been aground since 1999 and is now a Philippine military detachment on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea. Photo: Reuters/Erik De Castro
A Philippine flag flutters from BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated navy ship that has been aground since 1999 and is now a Philippine military detachment on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea. Photo: Reuters/Erik De Castro