MANILA – With the Philippine Air Force (PAF) acquiring two F-16 American multi-role fighter jets, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte only believed that it was a wrong move as the ‘70s jets were no match to China’s air power.
“The decision to buy two F-16s is really a blunder. How would it help?” Duterte said, urging the AFP to buy gunboats instead. “[Gunboats] are fast and mobile and can be deployed everywhere… Gunboats have firepower too.”
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) bought the F-16s as part of its modernization program, which aimed to build a defense system capable of addressing threats.
Despite modernization efforts, Duterte noted that the Philippines still cannot engage in an armed confrontation with China. He also said that the country could not rely to the United States (US) for help.
“We cannot go to war, we cannot fight China,” Duterte said, urging the national government to continue taking diplomatic steps.
“America will not die for us… [They have not] deployed the 7th fleet in front of that atoll… Now they’re there. [The US] allowed them to be finished,” he added.
The Philippines and China have been involved in a territorial dispute in the Spratly Islands.