CAMP GENERAL MATEO CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday expressed hope that China will deal with the Philippines in good faith regarding the issue on West Philippine Sea (WPS).
”I hope China is dealing with us in good faith. They seem to be conciliatory. We’re not insisting on arbitral judgement,” President Duterte said to the more than 300 government troops during his visit at the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army here.
The President was referring to the last July verdict of The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration, favoring the Philippines’ arbitration case against China’s nine-dash line claim that covers almost whole of WPS or South China Sea.
President Duterte said almost all of the Southeast Asian countries and even the United States are insisting the Philippines should use its arbitral tribunal victory to oppose China’s claims of all the WPS.
”But we will chart our own course to the national interest of this country. They better come up what they (China) really want,” the President said.
The Commander-in-Chief informed his soldiers that China is offering to build rehabilitation centers in the military camps.
”They offered, asking the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to go there and look at armaments against drugs. The problem is what about us? What about the issue between us?,” the President said.
”We will not raise hell now because of the judgment, but there will come a time that we have to do some reckoning about this,” he added.
The President said the Philippines has no intention to go to war “but I’m sure I guarantee to them, kung kayo pumasok dito (if you will enter here) it will be bloody.”
”And we will not give in to them easily. It will be the bones of our soldiers pati na sa akin isali nyo. We’ll not allow any country. We’ll not allow it,” he said.
The President earlier said he intends to discuss the WPS dispute “face to face” with China and not in the upcoming Laos ASEAN Summit.
For the meantime, the President reiterated his promise to give the best for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP in his bid “to walk extra miles” to achieve peace for every Filipino.
”We just have to spruce up your arms and your training and everything. We’ll take in more men so we can defend our mother land,” the President said.
”Huwag kayo masyado masaktan. Alam ko this is a bad day for you but I’m a President who is supposed to look for peace for my land. I’m not the President who seeks war to destroy our own countrymen and that is why I am talking to the left. Baka sakali,” he added.
The Philippine government peace panel and the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines (NDF-CPP) are currently holding peace negotiation in Oslo, Norway.
”There are indications I might succeed. I have to talk to MI (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and MN (Moro National Liberation Front),” the President said.
He promised that there will be additional 10,000 troops to fight terrorism and 5,000 policemen to end war against illegal drugs next year.
”Illegal drugs and corruption are destroying our country,” the President said.
Despite intermittent weather, the President finally pushed through his visit here on board a presidential chopper. Before leaving, the President posed for photo opportunity with the “fighters of the jungle” of the 2nd Infantry Division.
By Jelly F. Musico