Duterte lauds Russian aid to PH with no strings attached

Published June 9, 2021, 10:27 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte expressed his admiration to the Russian government anew for assisting the Philippines without strings attached.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on April 19, 2021. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Duterte made the statement during his interview with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on SMNI on Tuesday, June 8.

During the interview, the President explained that he went to Russia after America blocked the sale of 23,000 Armalites to the Philippines, citing his human rights record.

According to the President, Russia, without hesitation, provided the Philippines with the much-needed arms without asking for anything in return.

“Walang singko sentimos binayad ang gobyerno, gratis.  Sabi niya (It was gratis. Our government didn’t pay even five cents) (President Vladimir Putin), ‘We’ll give it to you,'” he said.

“I would be telling a lie to the Filipino people if I say there was. Wala talaga (There was really nothing). At kung may (And if there were) strings attached, then I would not accept any,” he added.

Last week, President Duterte had a phone conversation with President Putin wherein they renewed the shared commitment to further enhance the bilateral ties between the Philippines and Russia.

“The Philippines and Russia have indeed a lot to celebrate. Our cooperation continues to strengthen and gain new momentum,” Duterte said.

The President said the Philippines will “sustain the current upward trajectory” of the relations by deepening partnership, especially in trade and investment, defense, energy, space, and people-to-people exchanges.

He also noted positive developments in the procurement of 16 heavy-lift helicopters, adding that the Philippines was looking forward to cooperating with Russia to speed up the modernization of defense assets and systems.

President Duterte likewise stressed the importance of improving market access of Philippine products to Russia, stating that Philippine companies were ready to export more products to Russia while noting that the Philippines has preferential access to global markets.

Meanwhile, he also conveyed appreciation to the Russian government for the warm hospitality extended to more than 10,000 Filipinos in their country.

For his part, President Putin referred to the Philippines as a key partner in Southeast Asia sharing similar positions on many regional and international issues, allowing for tighter cooperation in key multilateral platforms in the future.

He said Russia was also ready to import more Philippine agricultural products, support transportation infrastructure projects, help build the country’s renewable energy facilities, and supply military equipment.

Putin likewise conveyed appreciation for President Duterte’s personal contribution to the growth of bilateral relations. Since becoming President, Duterte has visited Russia twice: first in 2017, a trip that was cut short due to the Marawi Siege; and the second one in 2019 for the Valdai forum.

Over the last five years, more than 30 agreements have been concluded and key bilateral mechanisms established.