Russia is asking for the Philippines shopping list with respect to the upgrading of its current defense needs.
The landmark visit by a Philippine President is just the second one despite last year Moscow-Philippine diplomatic celebrating the establishment of diplomatic ties forty (40) years ago.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said that: “Russia must cease to be at the margins of Philippine diplomacy,” last Monday.
“Overdependence on traditional partners has limited our room to maneuver in a very dynamic international arena. This is a strategic oversight that has led to many missed opportunities for our country. I am determined to correct this,” said the President prior to his flight to Moscow.
“Russia is a country that we must work with. There are opportunities for cooperation that cannot be ignored.
With [its]geographic footprint in the Asia-Pacific region and its strategic interests in the region, a positive engagement is required to find areas of synergies in interests,” he added.
During the meeting of both leaders last Tuesday, Pres. Duterte asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for a loan during their meeting in Kremlin re the possibility of a soft loan hours before he flew back to the country because of what is happening in Marawi City.
“I am sorry if I am in a hurry but I need to buy, if you can grant me a soft loan, we’ll [use]the money and pay it right away because the arms that we ordered from America [were]cancelled,” he added.
The President is referring to the cancelled purchase of the Philippines from the United States to the Philippine National Police, which was questioned by US Senator Benjamin Cardin.
“I’m having problems with the [IS]. I come here to seek help,” President told Putin he needs more firearms to suppress if not eradicate terrorist in the country especially the ISIS in Mindanao.
Foreign Affairs(DFA) Secretary Alan Cayetano said the Russian government was willing to “do all efforts” to accommodate Duterte’s request for defense equiptments.
“The response of the Russian Federation through President (Vladimir) Putin was very, very generous. So they said, well, we have the framework in place through our agreements to cooperate,” DFA Sec said in a press briefing.
“They have showed us what is available to us. I’m not at liberty now to discuss that…but they are awaiting our proposals,”.
“These are really modern equipment that can be used to fight terrorist that will avoid injuring or causing deaths or damage or deaths to innocent bystanders or people in a community and also to prevent collateral damage,” Cayetano said.
“That also goes, for example, for our police and our military. You know, they’re suffering. They’re getting hurt. They don’t have the best hospital equipment. Sometimes, the Abu Sayyaf have better equipment than they do,” DFA Sec added.