Duterte tells Putin his gov't to buy weapons from Russia
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday the Philippines will buy weapons from Russia to strengthen its military and police forces.
Duterte conveyed this to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting in Vietnam.
"And that is my dream that before I finish my presidency, I want to build a strong Armed Forces and a strong police and it's important for you to know we are buying arms from Russia this time," he said.
He noted that the Philippines was supposed to acquire short arms for the Philippine National Police from the United States.
"We wanted to buy from America. But because of the almost equal power of the US Congress and the president and it's always stymied by the legislators, so the 23,000 that I ordered was scrapped," he said.
Duterte thanked Putin for Russia's "timely" assistance when it donated arms last month to the Philippines.
He said Russia's donated firearms were also being used against the terrorists in war-torn Marawi City.
For his part, Putin congratulated Duterte for addressing terrorism, which is "one of our common problem and common challenge."
He said his government is ready to develop further the relations with the Philippines, such as in the areas of technical, military and economy.
Duterte visited Russia in May, but he had to cut short his trip there due to rebellion in Marawi.
On May 23, while in Moscow, Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao shortly after the Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorists started attacking and occupying Marawi. Celerina Monte/DMS