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Duterte eyes China aid vs Mindanao fighting

If a full-blown terror fighting erupts in Mindanao, President Duterte is inclined to seek military assistance from China rather than the United States.

The President said he could rely on China’s help since it is closer to the Philippines as he expressed doubts the United States would rush to the country’s aid.

“If there is a full-blown war fighting in Mindanao, saan ako mag-hingi ng tulong? America? You think their men in the boots would come here? Ang layo nun and even the shipment,” Duterte said during the 117th anniversary of the Office of the Solicitor General last Tuesday.

“Sino ang makatulong sa atin sa armas? Well, China. Ang pinakamalapit. ‘Pag naubusan na ako ng bala, naubusan na ako lahat, dito ako sa China, hindi ako pupuntang America,” he said.

Duterte recalled that the government recently tried to purchase weapons from the US but the sale was halted due to the opposition by some lawmakers. “The President and Congress seems to be in parity, not co-equal. They are really in parity of powers,” he said.

China provided weapons to the Philippines for free amid improving ties between the two nations.

Duterte said he tried to purchase arms from China during his visit to Beijing but President Xi Jinping sent the weapons for free. He noted that the sniper rifle used to kill a terror leader during the Marawi City siege was made in China.

The President bared his latest defense strategy to seek China’s aid amid the lingering threat posed by the Islamic State in the country, particularly in Mindanao.

He argued that IS militants intend to “build caliphates in friendly and Muslim countries” such as the Philippines. “So where can you find a place suitable that there is enough Muslims around where they can mix and help them maybe and sympathize with them. Saan dito? Philippines,” he said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)

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Written by Rafael Bandayrel

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