Duterte tells China: Build us a railway and let’s set aside differences for a while
DAVAO CITY – “Build us a railway just like the one you built in Africa and let’s set aside disagreements for a while,” presidential aspirant and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte told China.
“Build us a rail for Mindanao, build us a railway from Manila to Bicol, I will be happy, let us not fight. Build us a railway because no nation on earth ever progressed without a railway,” he told Saturday’s gathering of the women’s group called Forum of Women for Action with Rody Duterte (Forward Women) who endorsed his candidacy for the top post of the land.
Duterte vowed to ask China to set aside its claim over the contested islands for a while, so that China and the Philippines could explore trade.
“I will tell China to set aside its claim for a while so that I will not bring up the issue of (Philippine) national patrimony,” Duterte said. “But if (China) insists, I will tell them, that is our fishing ground and why are you building an infrastructure that my country does not need?” Duterte said.
However, he reiterated his earlier stand that the country would not want to make war with China. “We have to talk,” he said.
“I will tell China, do not claim ownership and I will not mention patrimony, hayaan natin muna iyan, gusto mo (let’s set that aside, you might want) trade exploration,” he said, referring to China.
“I will just ask you to build a rail, just like what you did for Africa,” said Duterte, referring to the Chinese-funded high-speed railway line project of the Kenya Railways Corporation, which has cut travel time from Nairobi to Mombasa from 13 to three hours.
But Duterte, in his trademark sense of humor, said he would not waste a Filipino soldier’s life if things came to worst with China but would personally present himself to the Chinese authorities.
“This, I will commit and pledge to you,” he said, addressing his women audience.
“If worse comes to worst, I will not waste the lives of Filipino soldiers, I will go to the boundary line, myself; maybe have someone take me there, and I will go there on my own with a jetski, bringing along with me a flag and a pole and once I disembark, I will plant the flag on the runway and tell the Chinese authorities, ‘Kill me,'” Duterte said. “Huwag na ang sundalo (Don’t kill the soldiers),” he said.
“I’ll tell (the Chinese authorities)’kill me,’ because I also want to be a hero,” Duterte said, which sent his audience laughing.
“May ambsiyon akong maging hero, ito na ang pagkakataon ko (I have an ambition to be a hero and this would be my chance),” Duterte said, as chuckles were heard from his audience.
He said he’d rather die blasted by a (Chinese) missile rather than die peacefully in his sleep because right now, with the top leadership accused of numerous forms of graft and corruption, the country lacked heroes. “Look at what they’ve done to Lapu-lapu, the first Malay to fight an imperialist invader, ginawa nilang isda (they turned him into a fish),” Duterte said.
“He’s not even mentioned in the textbooks and there’s no so-called Lapu-lapu Day among our lists of holidays,” he said. “Instead, ginawa nilang isda, piniprito, ginawang escabeche araw-araw.” (Instead, they turned him into a fish that is usually fried and made into escabeche everyday.)
“If I become president, I will honor Lapu-Lapu as a hero, and if I’ll be a hero after I’m blasted by a missile from China, kayo na’ng bahala. Magiging mas masaya ang mga bata dahil Duterte day, walang klase (…it’s now up to you. Kids will be happy because on Duterte day, there will be no classes),” Duterte said, eliciting laughter from his audience. SFM
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