President Duterte To China: “May barko ako d’yan. I am not ready to withdraw”
After drawing flak over his remark that his 2016 campaign promise for fishermen in disputed seas was a “campaign joke”, President Rodrigo Duterte warned China that he wouldn’t withdraw Philippine ships from disputed waters, even if China killed him.
Defense Secretary Lorenzana told the President in a taped meeting that aired on Friday noon that the Philippines had two ships in the West Philippine Sea, which were roving around Mischief Reef and Kalayaan islands.
According to President Duterte, he would like to put a notice on China and said that the Philippines have two ships there and he wasn’t ready to withdraw. The President also said that he didn’t want a quarrel and didn’t want trouble.
In addition, President Duterte said that the Philippine ships “will not move an inch backward”.
President Duterte also said that he didn’t want to quarrel with China as the Philippines have a debt of gratitude. He then called on China to understand the country’s position otherwise there would be problems.
The President also noted that this was “what’s supposed to be done by any president of any self-respecting republic”. Moreover, President Duterte said that it wasn’t wrong to admit that the Philippines was “inferior” in terms of “might and power”.
“Hindi talaga ako aatras. Patayin mo man ako kung patayin mo ako, dito ako. Dito magtatapos ang ating pagkakaibigan,” Duterte said, addressing China.
President Duterte’s statement came two days after a Filipino fisherman in Infanta, Pangasinan took offense at the President’s recent clarification that his 2016 campaign statement of riding a jet ski and challenging Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea was just a “campaign joke”.
Meanwhile, President Duterte expressed doubts if the United Nations could really help the Philippines in defending its legal claims in the West Philippine Sea.
“Kailan pa ba naging useful ang United Nations? Puro papel. Hindi niyo alam eh, nasa taas kayo,” President Duterte said.
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