President Rodrigo Duterte left for India on Wednesday, January 24, with hopes to sustain the momentum of the ASEAN Leaders’ Summit in Manila last year, particularly in fighting regional terrorism.
The President departed Manila Wednesday afternoon for New Delhi to attend the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit as well as India’s Republic Day celebration.
“I’m glad that India is inviting us so that we can do something about the other allied problems of each other’s governance,” President Duterte said in his departure speech.
The President said everything is going well in the ASEAN, especially on trade and commerce but the regional bloc and its dialogue partners have yet to have a platform to combat terrorism and other problems of law and order.
“Diyan sa Celebes, Sulu Sea. Bakante tayo diyan eh. And the Moluccas,” Duterte said.
“Kaya ako pupunta, sabihin ko, “Kung ganito lang naman, so what’s the use of meeting just once a year?” And probably the ministerial level, once every three months,” he said.
“They cannot accomplish anything because ‘yung waters natin contiguous to the archipelago of the Philippines is getting to be dangerous. And yet it is only Indonesia who’s active there,” he added, noting that he wants to invite China to help in patrolling the area.
Known for his hardline policy, the President said he wants the Armed Forces to deal with pirates and terrorists harshly in order to deter them.
“Otherwise, if we do not do the extreme measures, we’d always be at the mercy of criminal,” he said.
At the same time, President Duterte renewed his call to the Kuwaiti government to do something to stop the abuses committed against overseas Filipino workers there.
While Kuwait is an ally, the President said he is dismayed by the recent deaths of Filipino women, whom he said, were driven to commit suicide as a result of the attacks by their employers.
“But one more incident about a woman, a Filipina worker being raped there, committing suicide. I’m going to stop — I’m going to ban,” he said.
The President said that Filipinos abroad should be treated as human beings with dignity and should not endure rape and starvation.
“Can I ask you now just to treat my countrymen as human beings with dignity. I do not want to fight with you. We need your help to improve our country,” Duterte said.
“We are poor, we may need your help but we will not do it at the expense of the dignity of the Filipino,” he said.
“I hope that you’d listen to me because I mean well but I will never, never, never again tolerate. One more incident of rape to the point of committing suicide, jumping out of the window, that is something the Filipino people cannot stomach,” he added. PND