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Duterte to confront China over drugs

Another common security concern between the Philippines and China has cropped up apart from the lingering maritime dispute.

President Duterte has bared plans to raise his “sama ng loob” or resentment with China over the alleged involvement of some of its citizens in illegal drug operations.

The President expressed dismay that many of the drug suspects slain in police operations are of Chinese descent. Some Chinese citizens are also involved in drug operations even though they are already locked up in jail, Duterte added.

“Itong mga namatay dito na unclaimed, sino mag-claim niyan? Most of them really are Chinese. That’s why that’s my lamentations. Sabihin ko sa China one day: Bakit ganito ang sitwasyon?” Duterte said in his remarks at the San Beda alumni reunion in Malacañang.

“Why is it that your – hindi ko naman…not your sending – but most of the guys that come here do drugs, pati sa loob na,” he added. Duterte also bewailed that illegal drugs such as shabu are being cooked aboard ships that have “Chinese registry.”

The Philippine leader, however, said he would talk to China about the drug problem “at the proper time” amid the lingering sea dispute in the South China Sea. “At the proper time, ‘wag muna ngayon because let’s just say – bigger issue about…But magpakita ako ng restraint muna ngayon,” he said.

“Pero when I come face to face with them, makinig kayo. Sabihin ko talaga ang sama ng loob ko lahat sa kanila,” he added.

Duterte, however, made clear his concern must not be misconstrued as bias against China. The former mayor of Davao City claimed that he is actually part Chinese since his grandfather whose last name is “Lam” was Chinese.

In the same remarks, Duterte warned anew that there will be “reckoning” against drug dealers destroying the lives of Filipinos.

The new Philippine leader is also willing to put the presidency and life at stake as the government clamps down on those involved in illegal drugs. “Hindi na ako nagpapatawa. I will stake the presidency, the honor that goes with it and my life. Hindi ako aatras dito. I will not allow my country to be destroyed,” he said. (GENALYN D. KABILING)