Duterte thanks Putin for Russia's timely assistance in Marawi siegePhoto Credit: RFERL
DA NANG, Viet Nam — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, November 10, held a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) here.
“I would like to convey to you the gratitude of the Filipino people for your timely assistance, especially the trucks and the arms that you sent,” President Duterte said.
Duterte said the arms that came from Russia were very accurate and was able to help neutralize snipers of the ISIS-inspired Maute group.
“Your timely assistance to my country helped us replenish the old arms and the spent bores that were fired repeatedly and we have a new stock,” he said.
“In a way, you helped us turn the tide and to shorten the war there because of your assistance. So again, I thank you very much, the Russian people, and you, Mr. President. We will remember you for all time,” the President added.
President Duterte also expressed his enthusiasm to see the Russian leader, noting that his trip to Moscow last May was cut short because of the siege in Marawi.
President Duterte also told the Russian leader that he is planning to build a strong Armed Forces and a strong police during his term.
For his part, President Putin lauded President Duterte for quelling the rebellion in Marawi.
“I do remember how you had to cut short your visit to Russia due to terrorist attack in your country,” Putin said.
“Now, I do remember your final words. You told me while you were leaving Russia, you told me that you had to go back and install law and order to attack terrorists that’s why I’d like to say that you managed to do just that,” Putin said.
Putin said terrorism is a common challenge for both Russia and the Philippines, noting that Russia is prepared to further develop defense relations between Russia and the Philippines.
“I would like to say that terrorism is one of our common problem and common challenge and following our agreement, we are ready to keep developing our relations, including in the military area and the tactical area,” he said.
He also said that Russia wants to see an improvement in the economic relations between the two countries.
“I have no doubt, special attention should be paid to our economic ties,” Putin said.
Accompanying President Duterte were Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, and DFA Acting Assistant Secretary Amelita Aquino. (PND)