Duterte on F-16 offer: I need attack helicopters, small planes for COIN

President Rodrigo Duterte said he needs attack helicopters and small planes for counterinsurgency (COIN) amid United States government’s offer to sell the F-16 multi-role fighter platform to the Philippines. The US government is also offering attack helicopters among other US systems.

“I have said my piece about America. We do not need any M16s (F-16s). It would be utterly useless to buy it. But I need attack helicopters and small planes for the counterinsurgency,” President Duterte said during the 12th founding anniversary celebration of AFP Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) on August 23 at Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao Covered Court, Naval Station Felix Apolinario, Panacan, Davao City.

“[W]ala man akong problema but if you are thinking na bibili ako sainyo ng Martin F-16 multi-role fighter and how much can we buy? O kayo… Alam man kayo. How much is the budget? How many F-16s can I buy? Two, three, for what? For what? Against China? Heh, pulpog ta,” he said.

“What I need are just propeller-driven planes for anti-insurgency. Wala man tayong ibang kalaban, NPA, the ISIS, Abu Sayyaf. We don’t need the M16 (F-16). And yet they dangled before us after binaboy nila tayo,” he added.

“Binara ng isang congressman, ilang senador, Congress nila. T*** i**, patay na. So I was forced to go to China. Sabi ko, “Ganito, ganito. I do not come here to seek trouble.” And I brought with me Jess Dureza, si General Esperon, General Lorenzana, si – sa MARINA, si Guerrero, ah Guerrero. Sabi ko, “Makinig kayo.” Sabi ko – sabi ko sa China, wala akong in-assert ayan sila, buhay man ‘yan. Sabi ko, while we were discussing sa arms, after, sabi ko “Mr. President, there will be a time during my term that I will assert my jurisdiction because of this award. But I will not do it now because I am a friend who is in need and I come here not to wage war and because I cannot win it”,” he said.

“Sabi niya, “Sige. You can have the firearms. We’ll talk about China later.” Ako, wala akong ano. ‘Yan si Estelito Mendoza, he’s one of the great lawyers of the country. Sabi niya, “Rod, hayaan mo ‘yan. Tubig lang man ‘yan.” It is only when they will start to excavate the wealth there in the bowels of the earth of our territory, diyan na ako papalag,” he added.

“I’d like to remind Amerika, all of them. Ito si Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Defense James Mattis at si Mike Pompeo sa Secretary of State. Ganito ‘yan Jess eh. How sure na makuha ko ‘yung binili ko? Kung bilhin ko ‘yung isang – isang dosenang M16, ma-deliver kaya nila? Ni hindi nga nila ma-deliver ‘yung M16,” he said.

“Ang Amerika kasi kagaya ng Pilipinas, ‘pag may magtindig na senador pati congressman, “Your Honor, I propose – I propose a motion that the deliveries of the armaments shall be suspended until such time… blah-blah-blah, blah-blah-blah,” Duterte added.