By ROGER M. BALANZA
Saying most Filipinos have Chinese blood running in their veins, Davao City vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has appealed to the Chinese government to go easy on the Philippines.
We need help, not war, said Duterte on Sunday in the television program Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa on ABS-CBN in an apparent appeal to the Chinese as tension arose between the Philippines and China over the Spratly Islands issue.
Duterte, who traces his Chinese roots to Naning Province, said the Chinese should take into consideration the fact that most Filipinos have Chinese blood, in dealing with the Philippines.
The Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei are embroiled in a territorial dispute with China over the oil-rich Spratly Islands.
You are a rich country. We are poor, said Duterte in the television program, hinting that China should spare the Spratly Island for the Filipinos.
The Philippines is now tapping commercial-quantity gas in its Malampaya project off Palawan, in an area that China also claims.
Duterte said the tension between China and the Philippines should not be allowed to spin off into crisis proportions, saying Filipinos are not ready to do battle with the Chinese government, now ranked alongside the United States as a military and economic power.
Please be kind and accommodating to us, he said. Duterte said, to help tone down the tension, he plans to do a diplomatic act and visit his relatives in Naning to ask them to persuade their government not to be harsh on the Filipinos.