Duterte to China: PH won’t withdraw ships from West Philippine Sea
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has declared that the Philippines will not withdraw its assets from the disputed parts of the West Philippine Sea while also insisting he does not intend to quarrel with China due to the country’s “debt of gratitude” to them.
“We have a stand here and I want to state it here and now again. Na yung mga barko natin nandyan ngayon sa Pag-asa at saan pa, we will not move an inch backward,” Duterte said in the second part of his taped speech aired Friday.
(We have a stand here and I want to state it here and now again. That our ships are there in Pag-asa Island and somewhere else, we will not move an inch backward.)
“Ayoko makipagaway nga sa China. Inuulit ko, may utang ng loob kami. Malaki, malaki ang utang ng loob. Buhay ang tinulong nya sa amin. Pero yung ano naman ng bayan namin, sana maintindihan ninyo,” he added.
(I don’t want to quarrel with China. I repeat, we have a debt of gratitude. A big one. They helped us with our lives. But I hope you understand the interest of our nation.)
Duterte noted this is “what’s supposed to be done by any president of any self-respecting republic.”
In the same televised speech, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told Duterte the country’s assets are deployed at the Kalayaan Island Group.
“I’d like to put notice on China. May dalawang barko ako dyan…Sabihin ko sa China ngayon, as I said before, I am not ready to withdraw, I don’t want a quarrel, I don’t want trouble, I respect your position and you respect mine,” Duterte said.
(I have two ships there. Let me tell China now, as I said before, I am not ready to withdraw, I don’t want a quarrel, I don’t want trouble, I respect your position and you respect mine.)
The President said it is not wrong to admit that the Philippines is “inferior” in terms of “might and power.”
“Ngayon, hindi talaga ako aatras. Patayin mo man ako, dito ako. Dito magtapos ang ating pagkakaibigan,” he went on.
(Now, I really won’t withdraw. Even if you kill me, I will be here. This is when the friendship ends.)
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