Duterte before China trip: Let’s not dwell on Scarborough Shoal


But the President says he will ask China to allow Filipino fishermen to fish in the West Philippine Sea

MANILA, Philippines – Days before his visit to China, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would likely not dwell on Scarborough Shoal, an area in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) being claimed by both the Philippines and China.

“Huwag na muna natin pakialaman ‘yang Scarborough [Shoal] kasi hindi natin kaya eh. Magalit man tayo, hangin lang. ‘Di natin kaya,” said Duterte on Monday, October 10, in an event with local government officials in Lamitan, Basilan.

(Let’s not dwell on Scarborough Shoal because we don’t have the capabilities. Even if we express anger, it will just amount to nothing. We can’t back it up.)

But Duterte reiterated that he would bring up the fishing rights of Filipinos in the disputed sea.

Chinese vessels continue to harass Filipino fishermen in Scarborough Shoal despite an international court ruling that nullified China’s expansive claim over the disputed sea.

“Mag-usap muna tayo. Sabihin ko na lang na ipabalik muna ‘yang mga kapatid kong Pilipinong mangingisda, tsaka mag-usap tayo,” said Duterte.

(Let’s talk first. I’ll say for now that they should allow my brothers, Filipino fishermen, to return, then let’s talk.)

Duterte said he “suspects” the Chinese government wants to “help” the Philippines.

“May duda ako na gusto nila tumulong talaga (I have a suspicion they truly want to help),” he said.