THE Philippines is looking at getting military equipment from China and Russia.
President Rodrigo Duterte bared this Tuesday evening as he spoke before members of the Philippine Air Force at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. Duterte said possible deals with Russia and China are "in the pipeline" and that "offers are coming in."
Duterte, however, did not discuss details of the proposals.
The President also said China has offered airplanes to the Philippines because Beijing is "worried about him.”
"Ang China nagsabi daw na they are worried of me. Kaya nag-offer na magbigay ng eroplano (China said they are worried about me. So they offered to give airplanes)," he said.
He added that China may have offered military equipment because Beijing is "also thinking of the other guy," referring to the United States. He clarified though that the Philippines is not cutting military ties with its long-time ally.
"Andiyan iyan eh (It is already there). Who am I to [do away with] a treaty?" he said.
The President however said the country will also be "independent" and will welcome other possibilities when it comes to procuring equipment or weaponry for the armed forces.
"Kung gusto natin magbili dito, kung libre ito, bakit hindi natin kunin? Eh, ‘di salamat. Dito mayor, iregalo namin sa iyo, eroplano (referring to the Chinese offer). Ibibigay ko sa Air Force, gamitin ninyo iyan (If we want to buy from one source, if it's free, why won't we take it? Thanks. Here, mayor, we will give you an airplane. I will give that to the Air Force, you should use that)," he said.
Beijing claims sovereignty over most of the disputed South China Sea. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.
An arbitration court in The Hague ruled on July 12 that China had no historic title over the busy waterway and had breached the Philippines' sovereign rights there. The decision infuriated Beijing, which dismissed the court's authority.
Beijing has also repeatedly blamed the United States for stoking tensions in the region through its military patrols, and of taking sides in the dispute, accusations Washington denies.
Duterte however had earlier insisted that the Philippines will no longer engage in joint patrols or expedition in the disputed waters near the South China Sea with foreign powers.
“We will not join any expedition or patrolling the sea. I will not allow it because I do not want my country to be in involved in a hostile act,” Duterte said
“I just want to patrol our territorial waters. We do not go into patrol or join any [foreign] army because I do not want trouble,” he added.
The President said the Philippines would only patrol within its territorial waters.
“Territory is limited to the 12-mile limit. That is ours. Hanggang diyan lang tayo,” he said.
Duterte however reminded Beijing of the United Nations ruling favoring the Philippines’ diplomatic protest against China over the disputed water.