President Rodrigo Duterte earned the ire of social media today after saying in his address yesterday night that China, which has aggressively seized and militarized the West Philippine Sea, remained a “good friend” and that the Philippines “owed a big debt of gratitude” to the country.
As of the press time, the hashtag #DuterteTraydor remained among the top trending topics on Twitter, with over 13,000 tweets so far.
Many of the Twitter posts were indignant and incredulous over Duterte, with quite a number having explicit language.
Many are angry that Duterte was turning a blind eye to China’s incursion at the West Philippine Sea because of the so-called “debt of gratitude.”
So you're just going to let the Chinese Vessels invading the west Philippine Sea just because we have a huge debt to China? Open your eyes Du30! Hindi teritoryo ang dapat na ibayad sa utang!#DuterteTraydor#DutertePalpak #DuterteInutil— leonardo (@magadialeon) April 28, 2021
Huy grabe naman ano to #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor #DuterteTraydor— Panlasang Pinay (@thysz) April 29, 2021
Twitter user Cartoonist Zach posted a caricature of Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
— Cartoonist ZACH (@cartoonistzach) April 29, 2021
“I’m stating it for the record. We do not want war with China. China is a good friend. Mayroon tayong utang na loob na marami pati yung bakuna natin. So China, let it be known, is a good friend and we don’t want trouble with them especially war,” Duterte said yesterday night in a pre-recorded televised address.
Duterte cited China’s donation of a million COVID-19 vaccine from Sinovac, which jumpstarted the country’s vaccination program.
But amid the debt of gratitude, Duterte said the West Philippine Sea will not be bargained.
“There are things which are not really subject to a compromise. I have the interest of my country to protect,” Duterte said.
“Atin ‘yan,” said Duterte, referring to the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte also lashed out at Former Associate Justice Antonio Carpio for constantly asserting the country’s rights over the West Philippine Sea.
“Kung bright kayo, bakit nawala ang West Philippine Sea sa atin? Panahon ninyo ‘yon,” Duterte said.
“Nasa Supreme Court kayo noon, bakit di niyo sinabihan si Pnoy na maggawa ito, instead nag-retreat kayo. Ang naabutan ko, talo na tayo.”
Carpio responded in a statement today and said he recommended bringing China to the UNCLOS tribunal during the Aquino administration to assail the validity of China’s nine-dash line, which is their basis in claiming the West Philippine Sea.
But after the country won the case, Carpio said Duterte set it aside “in favor of loans and investments from China amounting to $22 billion.”
“Filipinos deserve, and should demand, a President who loves Filipinos first and foremost and who will uncompromisingly defend Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea,” said Carpio.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has filed a number of diplomatic protests over the continuing presence of over 200 Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Weng Wenbin, however, said in a press briefing that the Philippines must “respect China’s sovereignty and rights and interests, and stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes.”
The Chinese government recently conducted a ceremony commissioning three naval vessels — a nuclear submarine, an amphibious assault ship, and a destroyer — “to manage the South China Sea,” as Chinese state-owned media Global Times reported.