Duterte Seeks Beijing's Financial Help in its Fight Against Islamic Extremists
In a bid to neutralize the growing Islamic threat in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking China's financial help by way of a loan to be used in acquiring high-powered military arms and weaponry.
In a report by Manila-based newspaper on Monday, Duterte said Manila should act swiftly in neutralizing the homegrown terrorists, especially those who have pledged their loyalty to the Islamic State (ISIS) as they pose a grave danger to the country's security.
Like Us on Facebook
In a press conference held in Malacanang, Duterte had ordered the armed forces to use all its arsenal and weaponry at their disposal in containing the Islamic extremists in an area in Lanao in Mindanao who are expected to conduct more bombings.
The Philippine Star reported that Duterte had called on China in the same press conference to help Manila by granting it a loan to beef up its arms and military equipment.
"And I have also asked the armed forces to use all available assets and all the weaponry that's at our disposal. And I have an urgent message to China to help us if they have precision-guided arms, they can give us a loan," he added.
Duterte did not specify the details of the loan he is seeking from China which had previously offered to supply Manila with small arms and other high-tech weapon system to fight terrorism.
Duterte had earlier said Beijing has expressed its willingness to supply Manila with arms under generous terms. "It is a grant payable in 25 years so it is practically giving," Duterte said.
The Sino-Philippine arms deal comes on the heels of Duterte's recent cancellation of an order of close to 30,000 assault rifles from the US.
Philippine officials said the cancellation was made after international media reported that the delivery of weapons could be affected by human rights concerns over Duterte's war on drugs that includes extrajudicial killings.
Beijing had earlier expressed support to Duterte's anti-crime war, which was denounced by the United Nations, human rights watchdogs, and the international community, accusing Duterte of committing human rights violations.
Beijing and the Philippines have repaired their strained diplomatic ties following Duterte's election in June despite their dispute on the issue of the South China Sea.