MALACAÑANG said Monday, October 7, the United States (US), a long-time ally of the Philippines, is likely to feel "a little insecure" with Manila's closer relations with Moscow.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte's five-day official visit to Russia resulted in the signing of P620 million worth of business deals.
Duterte's trip to Moscow also enabled him to seal a commitment with Russian President Vladimir Putin to deepen the two nations' ties in the fields of security and defense; trade and investment; agriculture; energy; science and technology; and socio-cultural exchanges.
While the President maintains the Philippines' alliance with the US, he is also keen on improving ties with other countries that expressed willingness to help his administration such as Russia, Panelo said.
"Well, I think in his (Duterte) speech, his opening statement was there has been four decades, the relationship between Russia and the Philippines was marginal. And according to him, this was an oversight of strategic proportion so he corrected it," the Palace official said in a television interview.
"While he maintains his alliance with the US, he feels that [the] Philippines has to open itself to all those countries willing to help the Philippines for their friendship so that we can have deals with them, trade and others," he added.
Panelo noted that the warmer ties between the Philippines and Russia opened the door to an "ongoing negotiation" between the two countries with regard to the "purchase of certain military equipment."
He, however, was not privy to other details about the defense deal.
Duterte's spokesperson stressed that the US, like Russia, should be more open to giving the Philippines "fair deals."
The US warned in August last year that the Philippines' planned acquisition of military equipment from Russia may hurt its strong alliance with the Washington.
"Like the point of the President, he wanted to buy arms for them and choppers but they (the US) refused because they placed conditions, colatillas," he said.
Despite the Philippines' mended ties with Russia, Panelo was confident that it would not affect Manila's relations with Washington.
He said its only effect is that the US would feel a bit sense of insecurity.
"I don't think it will be affected. Perhaps, if there is any effect, it would be for the better because US would now feel a little insecure about it before we tail our position with that of the United States," Panelo said. (SunStar Philippines)