President Rodrigo Duterte insisted that the Philippines would not pull out its ships in the West Philippine Sea, adding the country would not engage in war with China.
“Mga barko natin, nandiyan sa Pag-asa island [Our ships in Pag-asa Island]… we will not move an inch, but we will not go to war with China,” Duterte said in a taped message aired on Friday.
“May utang na loob tayo sa China. Malaki. Buhay ang naitulong nila sa atin [We owe a lot to China, including lives],” he added.
“Sana maintindihan niyo ang bayan namin. Kung hindi, magkakaroon ng problema [I hope China would understand our position otherwise there would be problems],” he said.
However, Duterte expressed doubts if the United Nations could really help the Philippines in defending its legal claims in the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte says Philippine ships in West Philippine Sea will not back off
“Kailan pa ba naging useful ang United Nations? Puro papel. Hindi niyo alam eh, nasa taas kayo [When was the United Nations of any use? They’re all papers. They’re clueless up there],” he said.
“Gratitude,” particularly to the COVID-19 vaccines, is one of the reasons why President Rodrigo Duterte has not been able to be more courageous against China on the issue in the West Philippine Sea, he said in a speech on Wednesday.
“I’m stating it for the record, we do not want war with China. China is a good friend. Mayroon tayong utang na loob na marami, pati ‘yong bakuna natin. So China, let it be known, is a good friend, and we do not want a trouble with them, especially a war,” said Duterte in April.
He also said that the President doubts the sincerity of the United States in saying that it supports the Philippines’ fight on the issue of the West Philippine Sea.
“In so many instances, puro salita lang, that they will stand by you. That could have been the moment to show to the world that they were with us by sending their superior ships, bakit hindi nila ginawa?” said Duterte.