By: Elena Grace Flores
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte was quoted by GMA as saying among business leaders recently: that if he not join the Americans’ aircraft carrier patrolling in the South China Sea and will not go to war vs China just for Scarborough Shoal. Duterte already told US Ambassador Philip Goldberg of this plan when they met in Davao City recently – that he will follow the arbitral judgment then will setup a coast guard to secure the area which is not for war. It’s crazy to send navies there; he said. That would be a massacre not a territorial issue since Philippines is not in the position to go for that kind of war.
GMA wrote: Duterte said the Scarborough Shoal wasn’t a territorial issue. “It is an issue of our exclusivity sa economic zone. That you place there obstructions that will impede or obstruct our right to develop and fish anywhere there, ‘yun ang contention,” Duterte said. “That is our ache but that is not a thing to just say we will go to war,” he added.
Duterte said that the Philippines would be better off solving the insurgency that has kept development from happening particularly in Mindanao. “We are better off solving the internal problem first…. Then we can open up tourism and investment,” Duterte said.
However, Duterte made sure to get the United State’s commitment to aid the country with their defense when needed. He asked Golberg; ‘Are you with us?’ whom the latter replied; ‘Only if you are attacked’.”