On­sum­mit side­lines, PH wins sup­port for Marawi re­hab

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - NEWS - @LeilasINQ By Leila B. Salaver­ria WITHAREPORTFROM JAYMEE T. GAMIL INQ

Pres­i­dent Duterte se­cured com­mit­ments to help re­build Marawi and coun­tert­er­ror­ism, as well as loans and co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments from sev­eral coun­tries dur­ing talks with their lead­ers on the side­lines of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions Sum­mit this week.

Rus­sian Prime Min­is­ter Dmitry Medvedev told Mr. Duterte his coun­try was will­ing to help the Philip­pines fight ter­ror­ism and pro­vide weapons to Filipino troops.

“We’ll keep stand­ing by your side. We’ll keep as­sist­ing you,” Medvedev promised dur­ing their meet­ing on Mon­day.

Rus­sia has al­ready do­nated 5,000 Kalash­nikov as­sault ri­fles, one mil­lion rounds of am­mu­ni­tion and 20 army trucks to the Philip­pines and Mr. Duterte thanked Medvedev for the help dur­ing a “cru­cial mo­ment” in the fight against pro-Is­lamic State mil­i­tants in Marawi.

Medvedev said Moscow was ready to ex­pand po­lit­i­cal, cul­tural, trade and eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion with Manila.

Manila and Moscow also signed a treaty on mu­tual le­gal as­sis­tance on crim­i­nal mat­ters and an­other on ex­tra­di­tion. They also sealed an un­der­stand­ing on en­ergy, mass com­mu­ni­ca­tions, trans­port ed­u­ca­tion, higher ed­u­ca­tion, in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and au­dit.

From Ja­pan, the Philip­pines ob­tained a 114 bil­lion yen ($1 bil­lion) loan to fi­nance part of the Metro Manila Sub­way Project and a by­pass road in Bu­la­can and a 2.5 bil­lion yen ($22 mil­lion) grant for the re­con­struc­tion of Marawi and coun­tert­er­ror­ism oper­a­tions.

It also got a 15.928 bil­lion yen ($140 mil­lion) loan for the Cavite In­dus­trial Area Flood Risk Man­age­ment Project. A TC-90 trainer air­craft would be do­nated by Ja­pan’s Mar­itime Self-De­fense Force.

Mr. Duterte on Mon­day as­sured Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe of the Philip­pines’ sup­port for its op­po­si­tion to North Korea’s mis­sile launches, which he con­demned.

“We have said it sev­eral times al­ready in the past that it is not to the in­ter­est of North Korea to swag­ger around and threaten the world, of keep­ing us hostage with the atomic weapons,” he said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “should re­al­ize that he’d be re­spon­si­ble for end­ing life in this planet if his mind goes out of con­trol,” he added.

Dur­ing their Mon­day meet­ing, Mr. Duterte told In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi the Philip­pines wanted In­dian in­vestors to pro­duce cheaper medicines here “be­cause we are a poor coun­try.”

He told Modi he might send a trade, fi­nance and agri­cul­ture mis­sion to In­dia to in­crease bi­lat­eral trade.

Also on Mon­day, Mr. Duterte told South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in that the Philip­pines was seek­ing South Korean in­vest­ments in man­u­fac­tur­ing, au­to­mo­tive, food pro­duc­tion and pro­cess­ing, agribusi­ness, elec­tron­ics and en­ergy.

Moon called the Philip­pines “our long­time friend” that was vis­ited by 1.5 mil­lion Kore­ans yearly. He sought as­sur­ances for his coun­try­men’s safety and com­fort while in the Philip­pines and promised the same for Filipinos vis­it­ing Korea. He in­vited Filipinos to the Win­ter Olympic Games in PyeongChang in Fe­bru­ary.

Mr. Duterte on Sun­day thanked Brunei Sul­tan Haji Has­sanal Bolkiah for help­ing the Philip­pines when­ever the coun­try was hit by a dis­as­ter.

Dur­ing their talks on Sun­day, Mr. Duterte told Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull that the Philip­pines was con­cerned about the con­tin­ued mil­i­tary buildup in the South China Sea.

The two lead­ers discussed the craft­ing of a bind­ing Code of Con­duct in the strate­gic wa­ter­way, ex­trem­ism, il­le­gal drugs and trade.

Turn­bull com­mended Mr. Duterte for crush­ing the ex­trem­ists who had ram­paged through Marawi.

On Mon­day, Turn­bull told jour­nal­ists the two coun­tries were “in the same fight—the fight for free­dom,” re­fer­ring to their coun­tert­er­ror­ism co­op­er­a­tion in Marawi.

“It is a global fight,” Mal­colm said dur­ing a visit to the Armed Forces of the Philip­pines head­quar­ters in Camp Aguinaldo. —

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