Duterte breaks silence on sinking of PH boat: ‘It’s a little maritime accident’
Updated (8:51 p.m.)
SANGLEY POINT, Cavite — President Rodrigo Duterte broke his silence on Monday on the sinking of a Filipino boat by a Chinese vessel at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea and called it a “little maritime accident.”
Duterte said in a speech at the 121st Philippine Navy Anniversary here that politicians are just making the situation worse.
“Pero ‘yang nangyari diyan sa banggaan, that is a maritime incident. ‘Wag kayong maniwala sa mga politiko na bobo, gusto papuntahin yung Navy. You do not send gray ships there. Banggaan lang ng barko ‘yan, do not make it worse,” he said.
(What happened there is a collision. That is a maritime incident. Don’t believe stupid politicians. They want the Navy to go there. You do not send gray ships there. It’s just a collision, do not make it worse.)
The President even said the Philippines is not ready for a nuclear war.
“Alam ninyong mga sundalo, miscommunication lang patay na (You know how is it with soldiers, a miscommunication could lead to death). And we are not yet as ready, and we can never be ready in a nuclear war. Because in a nuclear war, kung bitawan lahat ‘yan, earth will dry up and we will all be destroyed, and that is the end of everything,” he said.
Duterte said the public should wait and listen to China’s side.
“Maritime incident is a maritime incident. It is best investigated. And I do not now issue statement because there is no investigation and there is no result. Then the only thing we can do is to wait and give the other party the right to be heard,” he said.
The chief executive said he wants to hear China’s side.
“Oh, China, marami ka man binigay, ano ba dito ang totoo? Oh tapos nag nangyari, ganito… Then let us sort, ano ang ma-sort natin diyan. Ano ang totoo?” he said.
(Oh, China, you gave us plenty, but what is the truth here? What happened? Then let us sort. What is the truth?)
“Dalawang bangka lang ‘yan (There were only two boats involved). Now you go there and create a tension. I said, hindi ako gago na presidente na papayag noon (As President, I cannot allow that). If we have to die, we must have to die in the correct way and to die with dignity. Hindi yung basta bangga ka nang ka-bangga diyan (Confrontation is not always necessary),” he added.
He told the Navy and the troops to “stay out of trouble.”
“Just build on our own. ‘Wag muna tayong makialam (Let’s not meddle),” he said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said that a Chinese vessel rammed a Filipino boat at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea and abandoned the sinking ship with 22 fishermen.
“Kung ako lang ang papipiliin niyo, gusto ko ng aksyon (If you ask me, I prefer action). But I am not in my boyhood age anymore. I have a duty that is a burden, sometimes more than I can carry,” Duterte said. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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