Duterte asks China to send coast guard against pirates, maritime kidnappers

  • President revealed asking China for help against maritime abductions
  • He said he wants Chinese coast guard vessels patrolling in int’l waters to ward off pirates
  • He pointed to Somalia as an example, said piracy there toned down due to Chinese presence

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the spate of maritime kidnappings committed by lawless groups like the Abu Sayyaf, President Rodrigo Duterte iterated his desire for Chinese coast guard vessels patrolling near the country’s territorial waters.

Speaking to newly-promoted military officials, the president said he has already asked China to have its ships patrol the high seas to ward off pirates.

“I also asked China if they can patrol the international waters without necessarily intruding into the territorial waters of the country,” GMA News quoted him as saying. “We would be glad if they have their presence there.”

According to Duterte, the presence of coast guard ships which are essentially civilian vessels would be enough to deter lawless groups. He pointed to Somalia as an example; saying the Chinese navy here have greatly reduced piracy through their patrols.

“Hindi naman kailangan gray ships eh. Sabi ko, basta iyong Coast Guard cutter, just to patrol, like what they did in Somalia, tumulong sila. Somalia has toned down. Pero dito sa Malacca Strait, pati dito sa Sulu Sea, it remains to be a big problem,” he said.

[It does not need to be gray ships. I said, just the Coast Guard cutter, just to patrol like what they did in Somalia, they helped. Somalia has toned down. But here in the Malacca Strait, and even here in the Sulu Sea, it remains to be a big problem.]

Duterte added that they if don’t do something about piracy, then cost of services and commodities would go up due to ships being forced to change their routes.

“And if they are blocked, either they go up to the North and if they’re headed for Mexico, down south, or they pass nearby, which would mean higher costs, higher rate, higher insurance, it adds up to the goods and the services there,” he pointed out.