The Daily Manila Shimbun


Putin said he was “happy” to meet with Duterte in Moscow.

May 24, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed condolences to the Filipino people for the death of some individuals due to the attack of Islamic State follower Maute Group in Marawi City. "I have to express our condolences as a matter of fact, loss of lives of your people happened because of a horrible terrorist attack," Putin, as quoted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office, told President Rodrigo Duterte during a nearly one- hour bilateral meeting in Kremlin before the Philippine leader left for Manila on Wednesday. "And my colleagues and myself definitely understand quite well that you do have to come back, to return to your motherland,” he said. “And let me express hope that the conflict that you have just mentioned will be resolved as soon as possible and with minimal losses and casualties,” he added. Duterte apologized for cutting short his trip to Russia, which would be until May 26. Duterte decided to go back to Manila earlier than scheduled to personally oversee the ongoing crisis in Marawi City, which the Maute Group has been occupying since Tuesday afternoon. At least three government troopers were killed in the clashes while several establishments were burned by the militants. “Please consider us as a good friend. I came to visit your place and it’s to establish stronger bilateral relations,” Duterte told Putin. “I [came] to seek your friendship and to establish trade and commerce with your country,” he said. Putin noted bilateral trade between the Philippines and Russia still have room for improvement, noting starting this year, trade exchanges started to increase by around 25 percent. “We have very many promising and interesting areas of cooperation, including on energy machine building, transport and infrastructure,” he said. (Celerina Monte/DMS)