Philippines: Russia ties widen 'borders of support'

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Saturday, January 7, said  strengthening ties with Russia widens the Southeast Asian country's "borders of support" and breaks its dependence on "one particular country."

"Kumbaga po, nagbo-broaden at nagwa-widen ang ating borders of support (In a way, our borders of support are broadening and widening)," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in an interview over state-run dzRB on Saturday.

"Na-break po 'yung ating mentality na ang ating source of security comes only from one particular country (We have broken our mentality that our source of security comes only from one particular country)," Abella added, apparently referring to the US. 

The Palace issued this statement a day after President Rodrigo Duterte toured the Russian anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs on Friday, January 6.

Russia deployed Admiral Tributs and sea tanker Boris Butoma for a goodwill visit to the Philippines from Monday, January 2, until Saturday.

Duterte is seeking closer ties with Russia and China as he is moving away from the Philippines' former colonizer and traditional ally, the US.

In a news conference aboard Admiral Tributs, Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev earlier warned the Philippines' traditional partners against interfering in Manila's improving ties with Moscow. –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at