Rody backs China buildup in WP Sea


PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday suggested in jest that China make the Philippines a province as he defended China’s construction of military structures on the contested Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef in the South China Sea.

In a speech during the 20th anniversary celebration of the Chinese Filipino Business Club, the President said the government is exerting more serious efforts to resolve the territorial issues in the South China Sea.

In front of the Chinese businessmen, Duterte said the China could just make the Philippines a province, like Fujian.

He admitted that China is building military bases in the West Philippine Sea but said it would be silly for anyone to think China will use such military assets against the Philippines.

“It’s not intended for us. The contending ideological powers of the world or the geopolitics have greatly changed. It’s really intended against those who the Chinese think would destroy them and that is America,” he said.

Duterte also brushed aside the move of China to name undersea features in Philippine Rise.

“If they say there is a lot of oil there, fine…Remember, that is ours. The whole of the China Sea, you have already claimed it…but this Philippine Rise is ours,” said Duterte.

He said any future scientific research conducted by foreign entities in the Philippine Rise will have to be cleared by the military first.

The Navy, meanwhile, has deployed a ship and two attack craft in the waters fronting the West Philippine Sea to ensure the country’s territorial integrity.

Lt. Sahirul Taib, public affairs officer of the Navy’s fleet based in Sangley Point in Cavite City, said that among the ships sent to Palawan waters were the BRP Nestor Reinoso and two newly-acquired multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC).