Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
PHOTO BY PHILIPPINE COMMUNICATIONS
DAVAO CITY – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte left for a five-day trip to Russia yesterday.
Duterte will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who he considers as his “favorite hero” owing to their mutual love for guns and hunting, and hopes to secure precision-guided bombs from Moscow to be used by the government in its fight against Muslim rebels in Mindanao.
Philippine media said Duterte’s visit to Russia is a blow to the US. President Donald Trump had invited Duterte to the White House but the Philippine leader did not commit to the invitation although he considers Trump as a “good friend”.
Duterte had an acrimonious relationship with Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, after the latter criticized the Duterte’s administration war on drugs.
Duterte is accompanied by Cabinet officials led by Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and businessmen.
In his pre-departure speech at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City, Duterte said his trip to Russia will highlight his administration’s “independent foreign policy,” which seeks to broaden ties with other nations.”
“It is a high-level delegation befitting the level of importance my government places on writing a new chapter of Philippines-Russia relationship,” Duterte said.
During his meeting with Putin and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, Duterte said he will discuss with them “ways of charting the future direction of Philippine-Russian partnership across many areas.”
Duterte will give a speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and according to the foreign affairs department, he will discuss his “independent foreign policy”.
After his speech, Duterte will meet with students and donate books for the institute’s library.
Duterte will be conferred an honorary degree by the institute. GAC/Expat Media
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