“To the brave soldiers and marines of our Navy, you have made the Filipino people proud and continue to do so with gallantry in defending our sovereignty in our territorial waters, particularly in the West Philippine Sea,” President Rodrigo Duterte said at the 120th anniversary celebration of Philippine Navy at Coconut Palace, CCP Complex, Manila on May 22.
He said he wanted to share his insights “in the matter of the West Philippine Sea, its dynamics and, of course, the implication of geopolitics. But for lack of material time, I may do it some other venue which I think you‟d be more comfortable to wait and listen to the policy.”
“It has something to do with my desire to defend but at the same time not to make any move that would be destructive to the nation. I cannot afford at this time to go to war,” he said.
“I cannot go into a battle which I cannot win and it would only result in the destruction and probably a lot of losses for our Armed Forces,” he explained. “Ako gusto ko, I really want to do something to assert. But you know, when I assumed the presidency, there was already this ruckus in the West Philippine Sea.”
“And because in my simple calculation, in every common sense that‟s available to me, I would have taken a stronger but probably a more violent way of doing it. And I said in my own estimation, it would be a great loss to the nation and probably end up losing a war,” he said.
President Duterte also noted that the government is currently working on implementing the Second Horizon of the Revised AFP Modernization Program which will give the Navy PHP77 billion worth of equipment.