Fisherman who quizzed 2016 presidential bets on WPS ‘feels bad’ on Duterte remark
MANILA, Philippines — The fisherman who asked presidential candidates in 2016 what they can do to help them fish peacefully in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) says he “feels bad” by the President’s remarks that his answer back then was just a “campaign joke.”
Carlo Montehermozo admitted voting for Duterte in the presidential elections, believing that the then-presidential candidate would be able to help them amid their struggles with the Chinese presence in the West Philippine Sea.
“Ang alam namin kaming mga mangingisda lahat dito matutulungan kami sa sinabi ko sa kanya. ‘Yun pala joke lang pala yung sinasabi nyang yun,” Montehermozo said in an interview with Teleradyo.
(We, fishermen, thought that what I told him would be able to help us. Apparently, what he said was just a joke.)
“Kaming mangingisda dito masama ang loob namin, bakit ganun lang? Joke joke lang yung sinabi lang yung sinabi nya sa akin noon,” he added.
(We, fishermen, feel bad because why was it like that? What he told me before was just a joke.)
Five years later, Montehermozo said many fishermen in their area feel bad that Duterte was not able to deliver on the promises.
“Masama ang loob namin. Syempre yun ang sinabi nya, inaasahan namin na gagawin nya. Bat sinabi nyang joke, joke lang? Joke, joke lang din sa naging Presidente natin,” Montehermozo said.
(We feel bad because we held on to what he said. Why is he saying that it was just a joke now?)
“Marami dito [masama ang loob]. Kahit ‘yung hindi nakakapunta ng Scarborough, kahit yung hindi pa nakarating sinasabi, ‘Wala na, nag-uulyanin na talaga yung Presidente natin,’ sabi nila,” he added.
(A lot of fishermen here feel bad. Even those who have yet to go to Scarborough are saying, “The President has become forgetful.”)
Asked if he would vote for another candidate from the Duterte family, Montehermozo said: “Iba na lang siguro. Kapag Duterte, kung anong puno, bunga ng mangga.”
(Maybe another candidate. If it’s another Duterte, I think the tree will bear the same fruit.)
According to Montehermozo, there are still Chinese vessels—even those of the Chinese Coast Guard—in the West Philippine Sea. The fishermen said that at times, the Chinese vessels would shoo the small fishing boats away from the area.
During a televised debate back in 2016, Duterte responded to Montehermozo’s question by saying that he would ride a jet ski to the Spratly Islands and plant a Philippine flag there.
But on May 10, five years later, Duterte said his 2016 pledge was a “pure campaign joke,” and even called those who believed him “stupid.”
He said he had planned to go through with his promise, even ended up buying a second-hand jet ski but found it to be logistically impossible as he said he would run out of gasoline and could be overwhelmed by waves.
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