Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the joke made by President Rodrigo Duterte regarding Philippines becoming a province of China was made to emphasize the West Philippine Sea and Philippine Rise are ours “but we are one with China.”
“Malinaw na malinaw naman po, hindi lang Benham Rise ang sinabi niyang atin. Sinabi niya pati ang West Philippine Sea na iyan ay atin iyan,” Roque said. “So iyong biro niya is, you know, it’s just to emphasize na it’s ours but we’re one with China.”
“That’s in jest because he started with a very serious tone, that we have title over West Philippine Sea and we have rights over Philippine Rise,” he further explained.
Early on his speech during the 10th Biennial National Convention and 20th Founding Anniversary Celebration of the Chinese Filipino Business Club, President Duterte said “itong claim sa China Sea – talagang atin ‘yan, insofar as the Republic of the Philippines is concerned.”
“I am ready, almost ready, to put my presidency, my career as President, my life and honor. Akin ‘yan. I’ve stated it in black and blue,” he added. “It has been the claim of the Republic of the Philippines na atin ‘yan, which we now call the China – which we call before the China Sea, now the West Philippine Sea. Walang kaduda-duda.”
“In front of the [Chinese] Ambassador, I’d tell you, we will insist. But what would be the components of our demands and our insistence? Well, we can only be diplomatic. We can only be talking on friendly and civilized terms,” he added.
He also stated that firm stand of Philippines regarding Philippine Rise.
It was in the last part of his speech when he stated his joke. “Gusto ninyo gawain na lang ninyo kaming province, Fujian pati Philippine province of China, eh ‘di wala tayong problema,” he said.
“Kasi ‘yung oil – joint naman. ‘Yung oil mo dito mo ang pinakamarami. Two-third sa amin, one-third kayo, mayaman naman kayo eh. Sus. At saka probinsya na kami. Oh, Province of Philippines, Republic of China,” he added.
Sources: https://pcoo.gov.ph/press_briefing/press-briefing-presidential-spokesperson-secretary-harry-roque-13/; https://pcoo.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/PRRD-10th-Biennial-National-Convention-and-20th-Founding-Anniversary-Celebration-of-the-Chinese-Filipino-Business-Club-Inc.pdf