By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte said he cannot just pick a fight against China no matter how hot-headed he is because of the number of Filipinos working and living there.
In a speech in Quezon City, Duterte said China has been allowing Filipinos to work in their country so he is being cautious about them.
“The huge population [of China] cannot cope up with the industrialization of the place. They want to produce more to make money, but they are short of workers,” he said.
“This is why they are liberal in allowing the entry of our countrymen and that would explain to you the reason why na ako dahan-dahan lang na makipag-ano sa kanila because marami na ang Pilipino sa China (I am being cautious about them because there are many Filipinos in China). Almost like 400,000,” he added.
Duterte admitted to be aggressive but he cannot just pick a fight with China or in any other country because this might put the welfare of Filipinos there at stake.
“Itong mga politikong iba, gusto awayin ko. You know, ako okay lang. Palaaway man ako. Pero you know, I have to think of Filipinos everywhere. In every country na may Pilipino, talagang pigil ako (Other politicians want me to make a stand. You know, I like to pick fights but I have to think of Filipinos everywhere. I keep it cool with countries where there are Filipinos),” he said.
“Mainitin ang ulo ko pero ‘pag magdating diyan, kalma lang ako (I am quick-tempered but when it comes to cases like this, I have to stay calm) because there are so many Filipinos going abroad,” he added.
On Friday, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo defended anew the President’s policy with China, saying it is not cowardice as Duterte is only thinking of protecting the Filipino people.
“The President is not subservient to China, he is subservient to the interest of the Filipino people. The President is precisely enforcing that provision on protecting and serving the people,” he said.
Duterte has been criticized for supposedly shelving the arbitral ruling which stated that the Philippines has rights over the West Philippine Sea. Recently, he was criticized for allowing China to fish in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) despite the constitutional provision protecting the EEZ and reserving its resources for Filipinos.