‘I am prepared:’ Duterte reiterates openness to accept Rohingya refugees
MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated his openness to accept Rohingya refugees to come to the Philippines and seek refuge from persecution in Myanmar.
Speaking before agrarian reform beneficiaries from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in Cotabato City, Duterte said he is willing to uphold a tradition of the Philippines in accepting refugees from other countries and claimed that he has “communicated” his desire to accept Rohingya refugees.
“I am prepared. I have communicated my desire na kapagka yung mga Rakhine, yung mga Rohingya sa Burma, kung gusto nila mag-migrate, tatanggapin ko sila (if the Rakhine, the Rohingya in Burma, if they want to migrate here in the Philippines, I will welcome them), ” Duterte said, drawing applause from a Muslim-dominated crowd.
“Nagtanggap man tayo noon ng mga Vietnamese ‘di ba? Panahon ng Amerikano diyan sa Palawan. Tanggapin din natin. Ang laki ng Mindanao…You plant there. Turuan natin silang mabuhay,” he added.
(We accepted Vietnamese boat people right? During the American time in Palawan. We should accept them (Rohingya) too. Mindanao is big…they can plant there. We should teach them to live.)
The Philippines had accepted Vietnamese “boat people” or refugees fleeing the Vietnam War and reunification of North and South Vietnam.
Thousands of people, most of them Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority group, have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since August 2017 when Rohingya militant attacks on security forces sparked a military crackdown.
Last year, the President issued the same statement, believing that genocide was taking place in Myanmar.
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