MANILA, Philippines — As President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday defended China from criticisms that its intention was really to invade and build structures on sea territories belonging to the Philippines, the top leader also joked that it would be better for his country to be a province of China so that it would no longer have problems in dealing with the Asian giant.
“Gusto ninyo gawain na lang ninyo kaming province, Fujian, pati Philippine province of China, eh ‘di wala tayong problema. Libre na lahat,” said Duterte in his speech, eliciting laughter from the audience at the Manila Hotel’s Fiesta Pavilion, who attended the 10th biennial national convention and 20th founding anniversary of the Chinese-Filipino Business Club, Inc.
[If you want, you can just make us your province, Fujian, including the Philippines as province of China, so that we will no longer have a problem. Everything will then be free.]
He said Fujian, a province on the southeast coast of mainland China, is the nearest to the Philippines. Duterte added that China should just focus on the Philippines and no longer go after Taipei because the latter was too small.
Taipei is the capital and a special municipality of Taiwan, which is being claimed by China as part of its territory under its “One China Principle.” But the Taiwanese government says that Taiwan has a self-sustaining, fully functional, and democratically-elected government unrelated to Beijing.
“The nearest is Fujian. Hayaan mo na lang ‘yang Taipei. Huwag na nating galawin ‘yan…Ah napaka maliit-liit na ano, hayaan mo ‘yan siya,” said Duterte.
“Let it float there. Makuha mo ang Philippines, wala nang problema kasi maraming pera eh. Kung babae pa itong China, niligawan ko na ‘yan. Daming kwarta ah,” the President added.
[Let it float there. If you get the Philippines, there will no longer be a problem because there’s lots of money. I would court China if it were a woman. It has lots of money.]
On the issue of China and the Philippines’ jointly exploring oil reserves in disputed maritime areas, including in the gas-rich Recto (Reed) Bank, which is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, Duterte said there would no longer be a problem on the sharing of resources between China and the Philippines because the latter would already become a province of the Asian giant.
“Kasi ‘yong oil…joint naman. ‘Yong oil mo, dito mo ang pinakamarami. Two-thirds sa amin, one-third kayo, mayaman naman kayo eh. Sus. At saka probinsya na kami. Oh, Province of Philippines, Republic of China,” Duterte said.
Also, during his speech, the President said Filipinos must believe in the promise of Chinese President Xi Jinping that China would not build anything on Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal also known as Bajo de Masinloc, a traditional fishing ground off Zambales province, which is part of the Philippine territory.
“They assured us, they will not build anything there sa Scarborough Shoal,” said Duterte.
“Maniwala kayo kasi ‘yan ang commitment sa akin ng China…si Xi Jinping mismo ang nagsabi and he is a man of honor,” he added.