President Duterte has appealed to China to treat Filipinos as brothers, not enemies, as he asked for consideration for the local fishermen affected by the maritime dispute.
Affirming that peace is the only way to resolve the sea conflict, the President said he hopes the China would “understand” the plight of the “poor” fishermen trying to make a living in the area.
“(I hope) the Chinese people this time may find a place in their hearts for the Filipinos after all I come from, there’s a Chinese blood in me. I hope you treat as your brothers, not enemies, and take note of the plight of our citizens,” the President said in his remarks at the National Heroes Day celebration in Taguig City.
“If we continue to treat each other as brothers and continue to understand especially the plight of the fishermen…They are there because they are poor,” Duterte added.
The President directed his remarks to Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua who was among the diplomats present in the memorial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Duterte told the Chinese Ambassador about his commitment to hold bilateral talks with China following an international tribunal’s decision in favor of the country’s claim in the West Philippine Sea.
The same landmark decision ruled that both Filipino and Chinese fishermen have traditional fishing rights in the Scarborough Shoal, effectively declaring the area as common fishing ground.
Duterte, however, said he would “keep silent” and avoid flaunting the arbitration ruling for now. “I will never bring the matter because it might lead to the suspension of the talks with China and that is not good, Mr. Ambassador,” he said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)