Duterte: War not worth it

Seeks peaceful end to dispute with China

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday called for the resolution through peaceful means of its dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea, saying declaring war over the area was never worth it.

“No matter the spoils, war is never worth it. The reasons of aggression against the occupation of nations should not be countenanced,” Duterte said during the 75th commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan and Veterans’ Week at the Mt. Samat National Shrine in Pilar, Bataan.

“This is why the Philippines continues to articulate our principled position that disputes should be settled in a peaceful manner,” Duterte said.

Among the guests were  Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana; Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa; US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Michael Klecheski; members of the diplomatic corps; Bataan Gov. Albert Garcia; Commissioner and OIC chairman of the National Historical Commission Rene Escalante; Mayor Alicia Pizarro; AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año and other service commanders; officers and members of the various veteran organizations and government workers.

“As responsible members of the international community, this is our sacred duty,” Duterte said.

He said this was also why the Philippines was the strongest advocate for the positive transformation of relations.

He said the Philippines and Japan emerged from a benighted period into a bright era of an expanding space for an unprecedented partnership.

In these modern times, Japan and the Philippines were new allies for peace, development and the rule of law in the region, he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte said that,  as chairman of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations on the 50th anniversary of the group’s establishment, the Philippines resolved to do its part in regional community building. 

“We will work hard to achieve greater peace, progress and prosperity. We will work with the interests and well-being of the Asean people at the very core,” Duterte said.

“We owe nothing less than this solemn pledge for all those who sacrificed the most for our country’s freedom. Our veterans went through one of the darkest chapters in world history for the benefit of our generation and generations after us.

“We must never forget that they endured a war for the sake of the future. We must remember we are the future that they fought for. For us and for the world, they are rightly our heroes.”

Duterte said Filipinos are drawn together each year on sacred ground to honor the gallant men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the nation, for the people and for the future.

He said some 75 years ago, the last stand was taken in Bataan and Corregidor.

Bloodied yet unbowed, men and women stood their ground to defend  “our Inang Bayan and the values we hold dear.”

“We were a young democracy then transitioning from colonial rule. But in that war we fought shoulder to shoulder with a country that is now the Philippines’ only defense treaty ally, the United States of America.”

This shared juncture in the past should be the firm basis for moving the country’s  relations forward.

“As we fought together to stave off the enemy then, so should we help each other to address the threats that confront our societies, our region and our world,”  Duterte said.

“Where before the lines of duties where clearly drawn, now the menace of terrorism, violent extremism and transnational crimes has called into question the efforts to uphold the responsibility to defend the interests of the common good.

“We know where we stand. We know what we should do. We will be undeterred in our efforts to secure for the citizens the future they deserve based on the mandate reposed on us by laws.”

Topics: President Rodrigo Duterte , China , West Philippine Sea
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