MANILA–President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, October 10, visited the largest ship of the Royal Australian Navy and reiterated full support to the Philippines’ allies.
The President was given a tour of the landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Adelaide anchored at the Port of Manila as part of the regional deployment by the Australian Defence Force to strengthen ties within the region.
In his remarks, President Duterte welcomed the officials and crew of the navy ship that is in its maiden deployment to Southeast Asia.
“I’d like to welcome you officially to the Philippines. And we’re happy that you found time to visit us,” he said.
The President discussed the ongoing tension in the Korean Peninsula.
“It’s good to raise our awareness actually now. And it would be also to our advantage if you just go around showing solidarity with the rest of the world. Not only because we face so many challenges and threats, but the small guy there in North Korea is playing with dangerous weapons,”
President Duterte expressed hopes that the situation would not deteriorate into something violent that may destroy Southeast Asia.
“So I hope that in the coming days, we should stay together, especially the alliance between us, Philippines, America, and even China,”
“It’s just a neighbor of China. And any distraction using nuclear bombs, nuclear arms, would destroy Southeast Asia immediately. And the Philippines is no exception,”
The President then reiterated his support to Australia and to the Philippines’ allies, alluding to the shared threat of presented by North Korea and Kim Jong Un.
“And that is why we reiterate our full support with our Australian friends, Americans, and even Chinese, Malaysian, all, to show to this one guy that he has to stop threatening the world. Because he runs the risk of being destroyed first,” he said.
Duterte told the crew of HMAS Adelaide that the Philippines is also suffering from a severe case of terrorism, citing the country’s battle against the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City.
“We’re coping up. We hope that it would be finished in about one week. We have suffered casualties, the biggest so far in present years. And I am sad that terrorism has arrived in my land,” he said.
“We are not against the Moro or the Muslim people. I myself have a little of — because of my grandmother, who was a Maranao Muslim. I don’t have anything against them, but it’s the terrorism that’s being imported,” he explained.
HMAS Adelaide, weighing 27,800 tonnes and 230 meters in length, is designed to provide medical and humanitarian assistance during regional emergencies with its 40-bed hospital that is complete with two operating theaters.
The ship’s 200-meter flight deck can carry up to 12 helicopters. It can accommodate more than 100 vehicles, 2,100 tonnes of cargo and can transport 1,000 military personnel and equipment for a rapid disaster response deployment.
The navy ship will also dock in Subic to continue the crew’s engagement with their Filipino counterparts.
More than 100 Philippine Armed Forces personnel, including the elite Philippine Marines, will participate in a sea-ride on Adelaide’s landing craft for a hands-on experience of the Australian Defence Force’s humanitarian and disaster relief capability.
The Australian Embassy noted Australia and the Philippines’ long-standing Defence Cooperation Program, which includes counter-terrorism, maritime security, and capability development assistance to the Armed Force of the Philippines.