Duterte expects plenty of help from China


Posted at Sep 10 2016 03:11 AM

Duterte expects plenty of help from China 1
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte pose for photo during the ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Vientiane, Laos September 7, 2016. Soe Zeya Tun, Reuters

President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday morning said China has vowed to help his administration's ongoing war on illegal drugs.

Duterte, in a press conference at the Davao International Airport after his arrival from his state visit to Indonesia and the ASEAN summit, said China's help "will be plenty." 

"China has committed to help us," he said, adding that the help won't be limited to the Chinese government building a drug rehabilitation center in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.

He said that during the ASEAN summit, he told the bloc's members about his campaign against illegal drugs. "I said that we have this serious problems with drugs and I informed the body. As a matter of fact, China has offered itself, to which I responded with gratitude, and I said we need it."

He did not go into details about China's promised assistance.

Duterte said his administration's budget this year is limited.

"I entered the presidency at midterm. Wala na tayong mga capital, expenditures, puro MOEE. This budget that I'm operating now was prepared the other year, so it is implemented this year. No one ever expected about the hugeness of the problem on drugs," he said.

Duterte, during a gathering with Filipinos in Indonesia on Friday, thanked Beijing for its generosity in assisting his administration's war against drugs, and said the US government can do better in assisting the Philippines. 

"I would like to thank China for being so generous to us," Duterte said. 

According to Duterte, China is one of the countries helping the Philippines build rehabilitation centers for drug addicts. 

"Only China ang magtulong sa atin. Ang America, they just gave you principles of law and nothing else," he said, following an international spat over the US government's call urging the Duterte administration to respect human rights in its war against illegal drugs.

("Only China will help us. America just gave principles of law and nothing else.")

Duterte also mentioned that there are “only two options” when it comes to the country’s relations with China.

"There are only two options there. We talk or we fight. For the Philippines to fight China, it will be slaughter, so we talk. We cannot match [them]," he said.

READ: Duterte thanks China for aid, says US can do better


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang earlier told Duterte he hopes the two countries can work together to bring bilateral ties back to a normal track, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement posted on its website on Friday.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in the Lao capital Vientiane on Thursday at a time of tension between China and the Philippines over disputed territory in the South China Sea.

Li said he hoped bilateral relations could "realise healthy, stable development", the statement said.

Duterte said Li's remarks represented one of his own principles and he said improving relations with China was his "active desire", according to the statement.

China claims much of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims.

China has over the past year alarmed other claimants, and outside powers such as the United States and Japan, by re-claiming land on several disputed reefs through dredging, and building air fields and port facilities.

In July, an international arbitration case brought and won by Manila ruled that China's building of numerous artificial islands was illegal and its claims to most of the South China Sea had no legal basis. China has rejected the ruling.