Duterte doubts US readiness to defend Philippines vs extremists
“Because of the threat here in Mindanao, you must have an option of where to go. Is America ready to die for us? Are they ready to send their troops here? Or can I call China for more arms because we do not have it?” Duterte said during the inauguration of a bridge in Davao City on Thursday.
AP/Bullit Marquez, File
Duterte doubts US readiness to defend Philippines vs extremists
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - May 26, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has  raised doubts whether the United States would be ready to help defend the Philippines from Islamic militants amid concerns raised by some groups over the administration’s dealing with China.

“Because of the threat here in Mindanao, you must have an option of where to go. Is America ready to die for us? Are they ready to send their troops here? Or can I call China for more arms because we do not have it?” Duterte said during the inauguration of a bridge in Davao City on Thursday.

Duterte made the statement after some sectors questioned why the government did not contest Beijing’s deployment of missiles and other military equipment in the South China Sea.

The US was the first to provide missiles, guns, ammunition and other weaponry as well as surveillance equipment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines when Maute terrorists laid siege to Marawi in May lasy year. Australia followed, providing drones.

China and Russia later donated guns and bullets.

Duterte reiterated that the Philippines could not afford to wage war against China. 

He also maintained that he is not abandoning the Philippines’claims to the disputed areas in the South China Sea.

“We cannot afford a war. We cannot win a battle against China and I would only lose maybe thousands of my troops and policemen,” he said. 

Duterte had blamed the US for not lifing a finger when China started building military equipment in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, Sen. Leila de Lima called on the President to convene the National Security Council (NSC) in a bid to take up China’s militarization of the South China Sea.

De Lima said the country could not afford to remain silent while China continues to construct structures and install missiles in the disputed waters.

She filed Senate Resolution 744, asking the President to convene the NSC, the principal advisory body on the proper coordination and integration of plans and policies affecting national security.

“Diplomatic actions are no longer options as the military activities of China in the West Philippine Sea have placed the whole country under perpetual threat,” De Lima said.

“The President should be presented all possible actions, including forceful diplomacy, close collaboration with allies such as Australia, Japan and the United States, renewed partnership with Indonesia, Vietnam and other allies in the ASEAN, and availment of other UN mechanisms,” she added.

China has reportedly deployed cruise ship and surface-to-air missiles on three islands in the Spratlys, where the Philippines is one of six claimant-countries.

Beijing has also landed bombers on an outpost in the South China Sea.

Duterte admitted shedding a tear after he led the ceremonial valve opening of the Polyard-3 well, operated by the China International Mining Petroleum Co. Ltd. In Cebu City last weekend.

“Last week, I was in Alegria, Cebu. For the first time nakita ko ‘yung apoy na (I saw the fire)... When I turned on the valve para lumabas ‘yung (langis) pag-uwi ko sa chopper kunyari nag-wipe ako ng face ko but I cried. At least for the first time nakita ko oil (I saw oil),” the President said. Marvin Sy

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL RODRIGO DUTERTE SOUTH CHINA SEA
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