President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday bantered with Health Sec. Francisco Duque on Monday, breaking from the serious tone of his weekly address to the nation. How does the Spratlys sound?
Before Duterte's remark, he urged Duque to reject calls for him to resign due to his handling of the COVID-19 crisis and alleged corruption in PhilHealth. The President said the health minister had his "full trust."
"One of these days tatawag tayo bakasyon (One of these day's let's call a vacation)," the President said. "Maybe we'll visit the Spratlys, but we will also invite the Americans to come along."
The vacation, should it push through, should be within the country, he said.
The President was referring to an island chain in the South China Sea where Manila and Beijing are caught in a longstanding dispute. Save for exchanges of diplomatic protests, the two nations have had relatively peaceful relations under Duterte.
Washington, Manila's treaty ally, has long protested Beijing's moves in the disputed waters, saying it threatened the flow of maritime trade and air traffic.