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Manila Bulletin - 2021-05-05

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Duterte frowns on rude behavior against ‘benefactor’ China

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By GENALYN KABILING

There is no need to be rude and disrespectful even as the country is locked in a territorial conflict with China, President Duterte said Monday. The President thumbed down on any disrespectful behavior as he recognized that China remains a “benefactor” of the country. Duterte, who previously thanked China for its donated vaccines, asserted that the nation actually owed a lot to the Asian neighbor. “China remains to be our benefactor and just because, if I may just add something to the narrative, just because we have a conflict with China doesn't mean to say we have to be rude and disrespectful,” Duterte said during a televised address Monday, May 3. “As a matter of fact, we have many things to thank China for the help in the past, and itong mga tulong ngayon,” he added. Duterte previously claimed that China remains a good friend and that Filipinos owed a huge debt of gratitude for the vaccines donated to the country. The country's initial vaccine supplies, initially sourced from China, prompted the government to start its vaccination drive last month. Despite the vaccine donation, the Chief Executive had earlier stressed he would not compromise the nation's sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea amid a territorial spat with China. Prior to his speech, the President got his first shot of the coronavirus vaccine developed by China's Sinopharm. Duterte's remarks came after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. told China to “get the f***k out” of the Philippine waters. Locsin appeared exasperated over the unlawful stay of some Chinese vessels in the country's waters. Earlier, the Palace had no qualms about Locsin's comment, saying it was part of free speech. But while he called for respect toward China, the President spewed out profanity-laced tirade against former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario who have been critical of his soft stance on the West Philippine Sea issue. Duterte resented the two former officials for blaming him for supposedly not doing enough to assert the country's claims in the area. He pointed out that the country lost a shoal when ships were pulled out during the past administration.

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