Duterte blames Aquino, US for China reclamation of disputed waters
President Rodrigo Duterte shifted the blame on former President Benigno Aquino III and the United States (US) amid recent reports that China has deployed missiles in three Philippine-claimed reefs in the Spratlys.
Duterte broke his silence on Friday as critics slammed the government’s seeming “inaction” over China’s continued militarization in the South China Sea.
The President said China’s aggressive island-building in the West Philippine Sea started even before his administration.
“So Aquino filed an arbitration case. We won. He was still there. Bakit hindi niya ginawa kung yan talaga ang gusto ng…’yan silang mga yellow [Why didn’t he do anything if that is what the yellow wanted]?” he said in a speech in Davao City.
“Panalo kayo nandiyan pa si Aquino not so many was there. Bakit hindi mo pinuntahan at sinita [You won and Aquino was still there, not so many was there. Why didn’t you go there and accost them]?” he added.
But the Philippines only won its diplomatic protest against China in July 12, 2016, a few days after Aquino stepped down from office.
Duterte also blamed US for its inaction when China started the reclamation activities in the disputed territory years back.
“And the only country who could have stopped them is America,” he said. “Walang ginawa at hinayaan [They did nothing, they just let it slide].”
The President said he was assessing the situation in the South China Sea.
“Ako naman, I was assessing. If I go there with the marines first, then the police and the sodiers, the army, it would be a massacre. I would just have allowed the killing of my soldiers and policemen,” he said.
He said the Philippines could not match the arms of China if Manila wages war against Beijing.
“So ngayon bakit si Duterte would not assert? In the first place, the main reason is that it would result into a massacre,” he said.
“Maubos talaga. And Manila and the nearest military airport of China is only 17 minutes away. If you declare war, [maubos] tayo lahat. That is the reality of it all,” he added. /jpv
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