MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday lashed out at \the opposition for "raising so many issues," including the West Philippine Sea, in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis.
Duterte alleged that the opposition has failed to suggest where to get additional funds for aid and help increase hospital beds while coronavirus infections "might go out of control and spread like a wildfire."
"Maghanap [sila] ng issue ng dagat," he said in a taped speech.
(They find issue in the sea instead.)
"Ano bang problema nito, raising so many issues, nonsense and trivia, just because they want to be heard?"
(What is their problem, raising so many issues, nonsense and trivia, just because they want to be heard?)
Manila and Beijing's maritime dispute flared again in March, after some 200 Chinese ships swarmed the West Philippine Sea.
Beijing refuses to recognize a 2016 arbitral ruling that junked its "historical" claims to about 90 percent of the South China Sea, within which is the smaller West Philippine Sea.
Duterte has refused to press China to obey the ruling, as he pursued investments and loans from the economic superpower. Last week, he said the arbitral victory was a piece of "paper."
Video courtesy of PTV
Vice President Leni Robredo, leader of the opposition, said Duterte's remarks were "wrong" and "pro-China."