President Rodrigo Duterte contradicted himself Monday night after insisting that he did not promise the people to retake the West Philippine Sea from China.
It was only last night when he said the following in his regular “Talk to the People” address:
“I never, never in my campaign as president promised the people that I would retake the West Philippine Sea. I did not promise that I would pressure China. I never mentioned about China and the Philippines in my campaign because that was a very serious matter. We need to have a diplomatic talkatise diyan. Eh hindi ako diyan… nandiyan sa ating Foreign Affairs, trabaho nila ‘yan. I never… Kayo, you pretended to work on it. Ako, wala kasi wala naman akong… I never promised anything.”
However, he promised it when he was still running for the presidency in 2016.
Duterte insists he had ‘never promised’ to get West Philippine Sea back
Here are some excerpts from Duterte during the April 2016 presidential debates:
“I will ask the Navy to bring me to the nearest boundary diyan sa Spratly, Scarborough. Bababa ako, sasakay ako ng jet ski, dala-dala ko ‘yung flag ng Pilipino at pupunta ako run sa airport nila. Itanim ko then I would say, ‘This is ours and do what you want with me.'”
The Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc is only 120 nautical miles from Luzon, within the 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. It is inside the West Philippine Sea which is recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), but the Chinese are now blocking Filipinos there. The Spratlys Islands are claimed by Manila, Beijing, and other claimant states.
Duterte even referenced the quote above, and even mentioned that he was “just joking” during the 2016 presidential campaign. The president even had a simple slap in the face to all who believed in his promise.
“Iyong sabi ko mag-jet ski ako doon sa China, ay kalokohan ‘yon. Wala gani akong heaven road. Istorya lang man ‘yon. Maniwala pala kayo,” he said in a speech in Davao City in 2018.