BAGUIO CITY: President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he would send members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to Russia after it offered to train Filipino security forces.
Duterte said Russian officials led by Moscow’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev made the offer during a meeting in Davao City on Thursday.
“Yesterday, the Russian delegation, they talked to me. And we discussed so many matters and they want to train our soldiers also and initially last night, I committed to send 10 PNP members and 10 members of the Armed Forces,” Duterte said in remarks before alumni of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1967 on Friday night.
“We have to connect not only because of the weapons but the critical mass of information that we can share with them. We cannot afford to just wait for something out of this generosity,” he added.
The Russian officials’ recent trip underlines Moscow’s intent to capitalize on a radical recalibration of foreign policy under Duterte, who resents the Philippines’ dependence on the United States. Duterte has made strong overtures towards China and Russia.
In Friday’s remarks, the President repeated his tirades against the US, accusing it of coercing the Philippines by threatening to withhold aid.
“The Russians said that I’m the only one who said something about the President of America and the American policy itself. They (Americans) forced me to do it. Every time they mentioned the assistance, it looked like we were beggars if there’s none (aid). That’s why I exploded. So that you know what’s in my heart,” he said.
He told PMA alumni holding key positions in the public and private sectors to deliver what is expected of them and more.
“We are now in the process of modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police so that they may perform their mandates effectively. I have instructed our law enforcement agencies to be relentless in pursuing those who would do harm to our people and the country, including criminal organizations, drug syndicates and terrorists,” Duterte said.
The President said the support of the military and police was “without limit,” which was why he had vowed to give them everything they needed, including a 100-percent hike in their salaries by the end of the year.