Nikolai Patrushev, Vladimir Putin’s security adviser and secretary of the Russian Security Council, visited President Rodrigo Duterte last February 16 in Davao City, and made the offer to have Russian military officials train members of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
President Duterte belatedly revealed during a dinner with Class 1967 Dimasupil of the Philippine Military Academy that he committed to send 10 members of the PNP and 10 members of the AFP to undergo such training.
On top of the military training to be received from Russian military officers, President Duterte also revealed that Russia and Philippines has agreed to share intelligence in order to better deal with transnational crimes and acts of terrorism.
It has also been revealed by Delfin Lorenzaga, Secretary of the Department of National Defense, that the sharing of intelligence between the two countries will be made through a database-sharing system, which can be used to track financial transaction of Islamist militants.
Hermogenes Esperon, National Security Adviser, also shared that steps to be taken in order to implement future cooperation between the two countries in the combat against illegal drugs was discussed. Cooperation in law enforcement and anti-piracy were also taken up, as well as the possibility of obtaining precision-guided arms, drones, helicopters, rifles and submarines from Russia.
Patrushev’s visit is in line with Russia’s aim to benefit from the realignment of Philippine’s foreign policies under President Duterte’s helm.
It can be recalled that President Duterte has expressly made his interest in aligning with China and Russia as opposed to the United States in his previous interviews and speeches.
Esperon further revealed that President Duterte is scheduled to fly to Moscow in May, where the memorandum of understanding underlining a defense cooperation agreement will be formally signed by the representatives of both countries.