Moscow, Russia — President Rodrigo Duterte said his official visit to Moscow in Russia has been very productive, despite having to cut short his trip.
He expressed gratitude to the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin, for the splendid welcome and their desire to help.
He said Putin was very accommodating, very liberal and very sympathetic. “
The President upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on Wednesday, May 24, said that the Russian leader also conveyed his “condolences, his grief for those who have died”.
Duterte was originally scheduled to meet Putin on May 25 but the Marawi incident forced him to shorten his stay.
Putin was not in Moscow when Duterte decided to fly home but the Russian leader readily returned to Moscow to meet Duterte.
“Russia is a true friend. While I have to immediately return to the Philippines, I have instructed the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (SFA) to remain,” he said, referring to Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
According to the President, Cayetano will meet with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss how to strengthen bilateral relations and to sign some agreements that have been already concluded.
Meanwhile, President Duterte has made the assurance that there will be no abuses of any kind amid the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, also pledging that the government will be harsh in enforcing the law.
“There will be no abuses done at all. Everything in government functions,” Duterte said.
The Chief Executive cut short his supposedly four-day official visit in Russia following the violence happening in Marawi City.
He declared martial law in the Mindanao group of islands.
“I am not willing to allow abuses. Government is still running. Congress is functioning. The courts are open for citizens to seek their grievance,” he said.
The President noted that martial law is not intended for the law-abiding citizens. “We are the least of your worry,” he said.
Duterte also appealed to the public not to allow the ISIS to come in. “I warn you again: Do not do it because as I have said my response would be harsh,” he said.
He said he will not hesitate to do anything and everything to protect and preserve the Filipino nation.
According to the President, the martial law may be expanded to include Visayas.
“And because of the many islands, they can always escape there and begin another terroristic activity,” he said.
In addition, the President said he has ordered the military, specially the Navy to embargo the islands, specially the sea that separates Mindanao from the Visayas.
President Duterte said that his administration will likewise take no shortcuts in making sure the terrorist groups are subdued. “It would take me maybe 60 days, 15 days but you can be very sure that the response of government will be not only equal but commensurate to the resistance of the law,” he said.###PND