MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday that the provision in the Constitution for the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is for the “senseless and thoughtless” and China won’t honor it.
“That is a provision for the thoughtless and the senseless,” Duterte told reporters in Malacañang, referring to Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution, which states that the State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.”
“The protection of our economic rights about the economic zone resolves this? I am protecting the country and 110 million Filipinos,” Duterte said.
The President said China would not recognize the Philippine Constitution even if he shows it to them, saying our Constitution would be “meaningless.”
“Pupunta ako sabihin ko get out, this is the Constitution. Sabihin sayo’ naubusan ka na ng toilet paper, gamitin mo yan (You want me to go there and tell them to get out, this is the Constitution? They’ll tell you, did you run out of toilet paper? You can use that),’” he said.
“Ako kung sabihin (If they say) you present to me a constitution like that and we have this ruckus claiming the same place in our jurisdiction. Sabihin ko, kung wala kang pang-ilo gamitin mo yang constitution mo (I will say you can use your Constitution as toilet paper). Because that means war. And that piece of paper, the Constitution, will become meaningless with no spirit except desperation, agony, and suffering,” he added.
China fishermen in PH EEZ
Asked to clarify if he is allowing Chinese fishermen to fish in the Philippines’ EEZ, Duterte said it is unnecessary.
“We do not need to give or disallow China because in the mind of China and everybody else down to the last soldier and citizen, kanila ang [South] China [Sea] kaya nga kinuha nila eh,” he said.
The President said China won’t listen to him even if he asks them to stay away from our EEZ.
“Sabihin ko sa China ‘Wag mo gawin ‘yan’, kung sabihin ko naman wag mo gawin yan, wag mo gawin ito gagawin niya. And you are there for an embarrassment. ‘Yan naman ang gusto ng mga kamoteng ito (And that’s they want), including Carpio,” he said.
Duterte also explained why he keeps on warning about war if we insist on our claims in the South China Sea.
“Bakit ba si Duterte pinag-uusapan gulo agad (Why is Duterte always talking about war?” he asked. “Di ba sinabi ko na sa inyo yang sagot na yan right after I went to China (Why is Duterte always talking about war? Didn’t I answer that already after I went to China)?”
The President said Xi told him not to discuss for now our maritime dispute because Manila and Beijing had just “restored our friendship.”
“Sabi niya (He said), ‘Let’s talk about helping each other, create commerce,’” he said.
Duterte also said he insisted that the Philippines dig oil in the West Philippine Sea, but the Chinese leader warned about war.
“I want my oil because that is ours there. And he said, ‘No because that could mean trouble,’” he said.
Duterte reiterated that China has a missile that could reach Manila in seven minutes. (Editor: Eden Estopace)