MANILA— President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered the procurement of 3 more aircraft for the Philippine Coast Guard in a bid to boost maritime security.
Duterte said he was "glad" that the PCG "continues to be geared towards expanded presence [in] the West Philippine Sea and the Kalayaan Group to safeguard Filipino fishermen to venture into the sea of their daily livelihood."
However, he noted the Coast Guard "has to worry also about the other areas" and had only one Cessna aircraft.
"What is very urgent for you is 'yong eroplano mo na Cessna, kulang 'yon, isa... Every time mag-take off kayo, pagtatawanan kayo ng Air Force, ‘Huwag ninyong ihulog iyan, isa lang iyan.’ P***** *** 'pag na—wala na," he said during the inauguration of a port project in Palawan.
(What is very urgent for you is the Cessna aircraft, one is not enough. Every time you take off, the Air Force will laugh at you and say, 'Do not drop that, there's only one.' S** ** * *****, if it's lost, there will be nothing else.)
Addressing Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, the President said, "Buy mga 3 eroplano pa, so 4."
"Okay na iyan, 4, para may pang-crash kayo na 2, may maiwan pa," he continued.
(Buy 3 more, so there will be 4. Those will be enough, 4, so that if you crash 2, there will still be a couple left.)
"As President, I assure that we will uphold our territorial integrity no matter what the circumstance is," Duterte said.
The additional aircraft, he added, could also be used for evacuation, rescue, and other purposes.
Manila is locked in a territorial dispute with Beijing, which claims almost the entire South China Sea, including parts of the smaller West Philippine Sea.
China has refused to obey a United Nations-backed court ruling that junked its sweeping claims to the resource-rich area.