As PH eyes Russia deal, US officials propose to meet with Duterte
As the Philippines is eyeing a military hardware deal with Russia, three Cabinet members of US President Donald Trump have sought a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) modernization program.
This was confirmed by Duterte himself during the 12th anniversary rites of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) in Davao City where he read a letter sent to him by US Ambassador Sung Kim.
The President said the letter was signed by three US Cabinet secretaries: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
“We are writing you to reaffirm this administration’s strongest support for your effort to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and our commitment to work with your Congress to support this strategic endeavors,” Duterte quoted the letter as saying.
The letter from the US government noted the Philippines’ recent decision to procure Bell combat utility helicopters and Cessna utility aircraft.
“The United States is peerless, walang katumbas, supplier of the state-of-the-art technology with a proven track record and a long term reliable partner,” the letter stated, citing that American precision-guided munitions were used during the siege of Marawi.
Interestingly, the letter surfaced after Carlos Sorrea, Philippine Ambassador to Russia, revealed that Russia was willing to provide brand new military equipment to the Philippines.
“Russia is willing to provide brand new equipment, customized to the specific needs of the Philippines, at favorable financial terms, with reasonable delivery times, full after sales service, necessary training and without political conditionalities or limitations,” Sorreta said in a Facebook post on Wednesday. /ee
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