Duterte: Recto Bank incident not an attack on PH sovereignty
MANILA, Philippines—After calling the Recto Bank incident a “little maritime accident,” President Rodrigo Duterte is now saying that it is not an “attack” on Philippine sovereignty.
“It is not a matter of sovereignty. Twelve miles lang tayo. That is part of our territory as a Republic. Beyond that ang ibinigay sa atin is the exclusive economic zone. It is not an attack on our sovereignty. Malayo’ yan,” Duterte said in his speech during the oath-taking of his children, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte.
(It is not a matter of sovereignty. We are just out 12 miles. That is part of our territory as a Republic. Beyond that, we were given the exclusive economic zone. It is not an attack on our sovereignty. It’s far.)
“Sovereignty is the republic. Kapag inatake mo ‘yan (If you attack that), then there’s going to be war,” he added.
Duterte issued the statement after critics ganged up on his supposed dismissive stance on the ramming of a Filipino fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea by a Chinese vessel.
The Chief Executive has been criticized for his soft stance towards China’s militarization in the disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea. He has also refused to invoke the Philippines’ landmark arbitral victory which invalidated Beijing’s expansive claims in the disputed waters.
However, Duterte declared that he is not afraid of China and he just fears that Filipinos will be pounded in case of a war against the Asian powerhouse.
“Hindi ako takot sa China. Takot ako na baka walang kalaban, walang kalaban laban tayo. At baka tayo ang maubos. Pero kung sabihing, America has the right to interfere, it becomes a bloody confrontation,” he said.
(I am not afraid of China. I am worried that we may not have a fighting chance, and we may be decimated. But if you say that America has the right to interfere, it becomes a bloody confrontation.)
During the same speech, Duterte again expressed doubt that the United States, which has a standing Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the Philippines, will come to our defense in time, citing the need for US Congress’ approval before the longtime Filipino ally can go to war.
Senator Panfilo Lacson has been pushing the government to invoke the 66-year-old defense treaty with the US, however, Malacañang has branded the move as “premature” and “reckless.” (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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