By Roy Mabasa
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Monday said the Philippines has no choice in becoming Russia’s newest ally following the failure of the United States to provide the country with the rifles it needed to combat communist insurgency and terrorism.
Locsin was reacting to an article published by the United States-based online publication, The National Interest, narrating Manila’s plans to buy civilian planes and its pursuit of closer relations with the former Soviet Union.
“President (Rodrigo) Duterte asked for rifles, imagine that – rifles from the US (United States). The answer is no. Well, we won’t just lie down and let commies and jihadi walk all over us,” Locsin said in a tweet.
In October 2016, the US State Department stopped the planned sale of about 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines after a US senator openly opposed the deal given the human rights violations committed under Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.
A former colony, the Philippines is also a treaty ally of the US.
Shortly after the US government’s rejection of the rifle procurement deal, Duterte stated that the Philippines can also buy arms from Russia and China.
Since then, the Duterte administration had pursued closer ties with non-traditional allies like Beijing and Moscow.