Pro-Duterte actor Robin Padilla took a cue from the president in a Facebook live video yesterday and downplayed the ramming and sinking of a Philippine fishing boat by a Chinese-owned vessel in the Recto Bank (Reed Bank). He said that those who were angered by the incident should go to the West Philippine Sea and fight the Chinese themselves.
On June 9, a Chinese-owned vessel hit a Filipino boat and abandoned 22 Filipino fishermen at sea. According to the Filipino boat’s captain Junel Insigne, the Chinese crew members turned their lights on after hitting their ship, saw the Filipinos in the water screaming for help, then sped away without doing anything.
However, the Chinese Embassy in Manila released a statement rejecting reports that called the incident a hit and run. It said that the Chinese crew did not rescue the Filipino men for fear that they will be besieged by other Filipino boats. Insigne rejected this claim and said they were the only Filipino boat in the Recto Bank when the incident occurred.
President Rodrigo Duterte has downplayed the incident, calling the event as “just a collision of ships,” and not something to wage war over. Many were angered by the president’s statement, but not his supporter Padilla who echoed his sentiments.
Near the beginning of his Facebook Live video, the actor’s voice could be heard while he was speaking to a friend at an undisclosed location. Padilla said in Filipino: “Did you see the picture [of the Filipinos’ boat]? It didn’t sink. They even managed to bring their catch home.”
The friend in the video joked that the fishermen were “liars,” to which Padilla laughed.
Later, Padilla spoke directly to the camera and said in a mix of English and Filipino: “Our beloved president (Duterte) has spoken. Our beloved president said that that incident is not enough reason to declare war on China which would obliterate us. Because the issue in the South China Sea, the West Philippine Sea, the issue is about oil and gas …. That is such a sensitive topic. We cannot act all brave and involve the entire nation.”
“I think the Chinese have already apologized for what happened,” Padilla continued. “Let’s not make a big deal out of it. Like what I said before, whoever is brave should go there [to the West Philippine Sea]. Let’s not involve the Armed Forces, the Philippines, just do it yourself. If you’re really brave then prove that by going there.”
Despite Padilla’s claim, China has not apologized for what occurred.
The actor also used the video as an opportunity to paint a bleak picture of what could happen if the Philippines declared war on China.
“My god, we will not last a day if we go to war against China. We will not last a day. Our children will be pitiful. We should only fight if we are being invaded. What I am talking about is conventional warfare, that’s where we can show our courage,” he said.
Earlier this month, Padilla made a public announcement of his decision to become a reservist of the Philippine Army. He said that he would be the first person on the battlefield and the last one to leave it if he ever gets called for combat.
He said he wanted to be a reservist to join Filipino teens who might have to undergo Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) if it is made mandatory in senior high school, something Duterte is pushing for. Padilla said mandatory ROTC is necessary because the country needs to be defended from foreign invasions.
The actor has always been known for his vocal support of Duterte. He reportedly campaigned for Duterte for free for the 2016 presidential elections, according to Rappler.
This article, Robin Padilla downplays PH boat sinking incident; says angry critics should fight Chinese themselves, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!