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Russia-Ukraine war should be the least of Duterte’s concern-Lorenzana

May 05, 2022 - Thursday 4:05 PM by Catherine Cueto

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday said he thinks the Philippines will not be dragged into the continuing war between Russia and Ukraine. 

At the Laging Handa Public Briefing, Lorenzana said President Rodrigo Duterte asked him if the Philippines would be drawn into the ensuing war, as the United States and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had taken several actions against Russia.

“Napagusapan namin ng president iyan. Tinanong niya are we in danger na masangkot tayo?  Sabi ko malayo mangyari iyan kasi napakalayo natin kung kailangan ng America ng paglalagyan equipment mas malapit Korea at Turkey at ibang NATO forces (I discussed it with the President. He asked me are we in danger of being dragged into the war. I said that is not happening, because we are far, and if America will need a place to put their equipment, the closest country may be Korea or Turkey and other NATO forces),” Lorenzana said.

Earlier, President Duterte said the country’s police and military forces should be prepared for the possibility that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will exacerbate.

He said tensions over the Ukraine-Russia crisis might “overflow,” citing the risk of a nuclear war. A nuclear strike, he added, will be a cause for concern.

The president also said he discussed with Chinese President Xi Jinping his concerns over the conflict in Ukraine spilling over into Asia and dragging the Philippines into the “vortex of a war.”

But for Lorenzana, it should be the least of the concerns of the president for now.

“Malayo tayo. May ibang malalapit na bansa na paglalagyan. (We are far away. There are other countries where they can put their weapons),” he said.