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PRRD: An adversarial approach to the Russia-Ukraine conflict could be harmful to the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo R. Duterte stated on Tuesday that he is avoiding taking a confrontational stance on the Russia-Ukraine situation because doing so would endanger the country.

Duterte stated during a campaign rally for his ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), in Cainta, Rizal, that he preferred a “friendly” approach because the Philippines may be targeted if the Russia-Ukraine conflict evolves into a nuclear war.

“Kapag lumaki ang giyera between Russia and Ukraine, ‘pag sumabog ito, naging nuclear, medyo delikado na tayo. Tayo. ‘Pag nagputok isang… Alam mo tatamaan talaga tayo. Kaya sinabi ko na noon bakit ako nakipagkaibigan (If the war between Russia and Ukraine escalates into a nuclear war, we are in danger. We will be hit. That’s why I’m being friendly),” he said.

In the event that China provides military backing to Russia during the latter’s invasion of Ukraine, Duterte threatened that the Philippines, along with Taiwan, could be “struck.”

He predicted that it would happen since US forces are exploiting Philippine bases and facilities.

“If there is a war, tatamaan talaga tayo because nandito ang Amerikano at marami silang nandito armas,” Duterte added.

To combat Russia, the US has armed Ukraine with arms including drones, anti-tank and anti-air bombs, and heavy artillery.

The Philippines, according to the President, cannot afford to be hostile since it lacks the necessary weaponry to fight.

“Sabihin ko kay Xi Jinping, brod, wala naman tayong away. Ako, nakikipag-negotiate sa inyo. Hindi kasi panahon ng tapang-tapangan ngayon. Kapag mag-tapang-tapangan ka, ang masalubong mo, bomba, wala tayo niyan (I will tell [Chinese President] XI Jinping, brod, we do not have a quarrel. I’m negotiating with you. It’s not time to be adversarial because we will be met with bombs. We do not have that),” he said.

Duterte stated that he is only issuing a warning because the Russia-Ukraine situation will continue after he leaves office in June.

“Ang ating armaments (Our armaments are) good only for the insurgency problem in keeping the integrity of the Filipino land. Wala tayong panglabas. Kaya kung magkandaleche-leche ito, pag sumali ang China (We could not fight outside of the country. If the situation gets out of hand and China joins in), they would probably hit Taiwan and (the) Philippines. Sigurado iyan. Sigurado ako (That’s for sure. I’m sure of it),” he said.

In April, Duterte and Xi voiced serious worry for the Russia-Ukraine situation, hoping for a peaceful resolution between the two countries.

Since Russia launched a war on Ukraine on February 24, tens of thousands of people have been dead and more than ten million have fled to neighboring nations.

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