DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 August) — “The Philippines is going to experience another spasm. When? I do not know. Sigurado? Sigurado ‘yan. So we prepare within our limited talent, our capacity,” President Rodrigo Duterte said during the 10th Eastern Mindanao Command anniversary at the Naval Station Felix Apolinario in Panacan on Friday.
Duterte said the country has no capacity to produce “missiles and things” but emphasized that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will “fight the war, win or lose.”
“Basta we fight. It will come, maybe sooner than later. But we have to prepare, he said.
He explained that this is the reason why the government must resolve the “small wars” here, referring to the communist New People’s Army and the Moro groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front “because you have to focus on a new (war).”
Duterte did not specify against whom the preparations would be. He repeatedly said the country must avoid trouble with China.
“Hindi pa natin kaya” (We cannot afford it), Duterte said.
But he told the audience that he met with the Chinese Ambassador – he did not say when – and told him that during the bilateral talks with their head of state, “I would state my case… I have this arbitral judgment. We will not go out of the four corners of this paper. Then, let us talk. But not now. It’s not the right time to talk about it,” he said.
He said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had asked for additional 20,000 forces in the army but “I can only give you 10(,000) this year. I will give it – 10,000 more. Then I would like .. yung medyo bata talaga, because kung hindi magdating, magpasalamat tayo sa Diyos” (preferably younger ones, because if does not happen, then let’s thank God).
“There’s always the standing army to protect us. Never mind how many, even if it really causes an imbalance in the budget. It is always good to have men there ready to fight and die, rather than having them at all and just surrender just like a meek lamb there,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)