Lacson: PH as China province obviously a joke

MANILA Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said the recent remarks made by President Rodrigo Duterte saying that the Philippines could be a province of China was obviously made in jest and should not be taken seriously.

Duterte's remarks were made Monday during the 20th founding anniversary celebration of the Chinese Filipino Business Club Inc. held in Manila Hotel during a light moment in his speech.

Among the noted guests in the gathering was Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua.

Obviously it was a joke. After that, sinabi naman niya (he said) 'I assert our sovereign rights over the islands na kino-contest (which are being contested), Lacson said in an ambush interview.

When asked if there should be anything to worry over President's Duterte joking about Philippine sovereignty, the Philippine Military Academy alumnus (Batch '71) and former chief of the Philippine National Police answered none.

Wala. Di ako worried doon (Nothing. I am not worried about it), Lacson said.

In his speech Monday, Duterte repeatedly asserted that the Philippines is undoubtedly the owner of the disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea that is also claimed by China.

Itong claim sa (South) China Sea, talagang atin 'yan, (This claim in the South China Sea, that is absolutely ours) 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 (That is mine). I've stated it in black and blue, he said.

In front of the 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, Duterte said.

The President said he would also insist on the Philippine Rise because that is ours, period.

He added that the continental shelf below it is Philippine jurisdiction, and that he would not allow any foreign expedition there anymore without the express approval of the military.

It was only during the tail-end of his speech when he made the joke.

Ganoon na lang ang respeto ko kay (Chinese President) Xi Jinping. Matakot ka? (I highly respect Chinese President Xi Jinping. Are you scared?) Sabi nila they will not build They assured us, they will not build anything there sa Scarborough Shoal. Maniwala kayo kasi 'yan ang commitment sa akin ng China (Believe it because that is China's commitment to me.) Si Xi Jinping mismo ang nagsabi (It was Xi Jinping himself who told me that) and he is a man of honor, he said.

Kaya nga sabi ko, (That's why I said) 'why are you so sparing?' Gusto ninyo gawin na lang ninyo kaming (If you want, make us your) province, Fujian pati (including) Philippines, province of China, eh 'di wala tayong problema. Libre na lahat (So we don't have any problems. Everything is free), Duterte said in front of Chinese-Filipino businessmen.

Kasi 'yung oil joint naman (The oil - it is joint). 'Yung oil mo dito ang pinakamarami. (The oil is the most abundant here.) Two-third sa amin, one-third kayo, mayaman naman kayo eh (Two-thirds for us, one third for you. Anyway, you are rich). At saka probinsya na kami (And we are now a province.) Oh, Province of Philippines, Republic of China.

The nearest is Fujian. Hayaan mo na lang 'yang Taipei (Leave Taipei alone). Huwag na nating galawin 'yan (Let's not touch that). Ah napaka maliit-liit na ano, hayaan mo 'yan siya (It's just a small thing. Leave it there). Let it float there. Makuha mo ang (You get the) Philippines, wala nang problema kasi maraming pera eh (there is no problem because there is a lot of money). Kung babae pa itong China, niligawan ko na 'yan. Daming kwarta ah (If China is a woman, I would have courted her. She has a lot of money), Duterte said to applause and more laughter.

Source: Philippine News Agency