MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he asked China for help in patrolling waters near the Philippines to prevent the spread of terrorism.
"I also asked China if they can patrol the international waters without necessarily intruding into the territorial waters of our country. We would be glad if we have their presence there," he said during the oath-taking ceremony of officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Malacanang.
He said he only asked for patrol ships, just like how China helped in patrolling Somalia.
Duterte also said that aside from the country's drug problem, another issue that should be solved is terrorism, especially in Mindanao.
"We have to contain the fighting in Mindanao. We cannot allow it to spread, dahil ang pinakadelikado diyan, 'yung mga scholars," he said, adding that what is happening in Mindanao has nothing to do with religion.
The AFP on Sunday claimed that 15 terrorists accompanying Isnilon Hapilon, an extremist leader with alleged links to the Islamic State (IS), were killed in airstrikes in the town of Butig.
Hapilon was "seriously wounded" and was being carried on a makeshift stretcher last Friday by 4 men, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said.