‘What harassment?’ – Duterte on Ayungin incident
President Rodrigo Duterte admitted on Tuesday night that he was not aware of the reported harassment of Filipino soldiers by Chinese forces in Ayungin Shoal last May.
“I don’t know about that incident. I was busy talking to Korean officials. What kind of harassment?” Duterte said in a press briefing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 2 shortly after his arrival from a three-day official trip in South Korea.
After being explained to her by a reporter asking the question, the President said, “That’s the first time I’ve heard of it. It would be dangerous for me to answer questions without really having the slightest idea of what it is all about.”
Duterte’s answers were a contradiction of the statements of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, saying that the President was briefed about the harassment of Filipino soldiers in Ayungin.
“We filed a protest regarding that. We had a meeting. The President had strong instructions,” Cayetano told lawmakers during a congressional hearing last week.
On May 30, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano revealed that Chinese forces harassed Filipino soldiers delivering provisions to troops stationed on the BRP Siera Madre marooned on Ayungin.
Ayungin Shoal, well within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone and is also part of the continental shelf, is 105 nautical miles from Palawan.
But China is claming the resource-rich shoal.
The Associated Press, citing a source, had earlier reported that Duterte was displeased with the harrasment of Filipino troops. /cbb
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