Duterte: Firearms from China ready for pickup

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(CNN Philippines) — President Duterte is pushing through with plans to buy arms from China in a sign of further warming of ties with Beijing.

In a speech before a group of soldiers Sunday evening, the President says the arms have been prepared for pick up and that China has been pressing him about the arms deal.

Duterte said he told Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to talk to the Chinese and get the weapons.

The President adds the country will receive the arms through a grant, which will be payable in 25 years.

He was at the Northern Luzon Command in Camp Servillano Aquino in Tarlac City yesterday as part of his military camps visits around the country to boost troop morale.

Duterte appealed to soldiers to understand why he had to declare a unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels.

He explains this is necessary to end the decades-long war with the New People's Army.

He said, "Yung iba na matagal na sa serbisyo, alam ko masakit sa inyo yan, but you have to understand me and the rest of the Filipino people lalo na ang kalaban natin Filipino rin."

[Translation: I know this is difficult for those who have been in the service for a long time, but you have to understand me and the rest of the Filipino people, especially since we are fighting against fellow Filipinos.]

However, the President said the conflict in Mindanao is a different story.

He said government troops may need to fight for a long time amid reports of the presence of terrorist group ISIS in the South.

Meanwhile, Duterte promised officials cash gifts for the Christmas season.

He did not say, though, how much the soldiers will get.