THIS PHOTO taken on April 21, 2017 shows an aerial shot of a reef in the Spratly islands, the same day that Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana flew to one of the islands, brushing off a challenge by the Chinese military while asserting Manila’s territorial claim to the strategic region. — AFP

THE PHILIPPINE government said on Monday that the Philippines will continue to assert its sovereign rights over the disputed territories in the South China Sea despite the latest incident where a Filipino pilot was threatened by the Chinese Navy while flying over the area. “They will not stop us. We will continue with our flights. We will assert our sovereignty. And if need be, Filipino pilots will die for our sovereignty,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said in a press briefing at the Palace. He also said that an “investigation will be conducted,” and if the information is true, the good news is that the pilot did not cower at the Chinese threat and carried on with his flight. “That means that we are upholding our title, that we are asserting our sovereignty. We conducted the flight over our islands,” Mr. Roque said. — Arjay L. Balinbin