Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri “strongly suggested” yesterday that President Duterte and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) consider taking up an offer of Russian President Vladimir Putin to give a submarine for the country’s military hardware.
The Putin offer was revealed by Zubiri in yesterday’s Senate Committee on National Defense public hearing on the modernization program for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Sought for more details into the offer from the Russian president, Zubiri said President Duterte revealed the Putin offer during a dinner with him and others just before the President left for Russia on a state visit in May, 2017.
The submarine offer of the Russian President was actually made during a brief chance meeting Duterte had with Putin when they attended the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Peru in November, 2016.
Recalling Duterte’s narration of the Duterte-Putin exchange, Zubiri said that Duterte had mentioned to the Russian President that Philippines-US relations are a bit strained.
Duterte had said he felt the Philippines is too dependent on the US and is thus going to other countries for its military equipment purchases.
Putin, according Zubiri’s recollection, surprised Duterte when he said “I will give you a submarine.”
During the May, 2017 dinner, Duterte said Russia has good military equipment, best armaments and best helicopters for the external and internal defense of the Philippines.
Russia also has one of the best and affordable diesel-powered submarines compared to the US hardware, Zubiri said.