By Prince Golez
The Philippines is not ready to go to war with China over the West Philippine Sea, President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated Monday.
“Unless we are prepared to go to war, I would suggest that we better just call off and treat this, I said, with diplomatic endeavors. China is claiming it. We are claiming it. China has the arms, we do not have it,” Duterte said in his fifth and penultimate State of the Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa.
The President feared that his military would be wiped out should he risk a war against China.
“We have to go to war and I cannot afford it. Maybe some other president can, but I cannot. Inutil ako diyan, sabihin ko sa inyo. And I’m willing to admit it. Talagang inutil ako diyan. Wala akong magawa,” according to him.
“The moment I send my Marines there at the coastal shores of Palawan, tinamaan ng cruise missile lahat iyan. Hindi pa nga naka-set sail iyan eh, sabog na,” he added.
Beijing has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the victory won by the Philippines in the arbitration award, affirming the country’s sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone.