MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said China is providing the Philippines with firearms on a grant-basis payable in 25 years in a bid to boost the country's defense system.
In a speech before soldiers of the Northern Luzon Command in Tarlac, Duterte said it is obvious that China wants to give them to the Philippines.
“China is pressing me na nandyan na 'yung armas, tatanggapin ko. Apurado sila,” Duterte said.
He said he has already talked Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to send men to receive the arms.
“Di na tayo kailangan manghingi pa sa iba because they are willing to give it. 'Di naman free; it’s a grant actually… It’s obvious na gusto ng China magbigay sa atin,” he said.
Duterte previously said that China has expressed willingness to provide assistance to the Philippines following his four-day state visit there.
Meanwhile, Duterte also allayed concerns of the military and police, reiterating that he will assume responsibility for the job of the law enforcers.
“Basta ang military police may ginawa in performance of duty sa trabaho ninyo, eventually akin 'yan,” he said.
“It's me that will have to assume all responsibility. That is how I will guarantee you, basta mag-trabaho kayo.”
He said the military and the police can "forget" about fears over cases and just do their duty.
"Pero 'yang mga nagsasabi ng kaso-kaso kayo, forget it. I will defend you, just do your duty."
Some 1,800 police officers are currently being investigated by the National Police Commission (Napolcom) for alleged links to the illegal drug trade.
Duterte also praised the military, saying he is satisfied with their performance but warned them that the country will soon have to deal with terrorism “whether we like it or not.”
“Happy ang Pilipino sa inyo. I’m more than satisfied with your performance,” he said.
“But one thing is for sure: terrorism is coming our way whether we like it or not,” he added, noting that terrorist forces may soon move to Malaysia, Indonesia and Mindanao.
Duterte also promised to give out Christmas gifts to soldiers since the government has saving but did not elaborate whether the gifts would be in cash or kind.