Defense chief says Philippines to remain neutral on Russia-Ukraine conflict

·Contributor
·2 min read
Philippine Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana testifies before the Philippine Senate probe on the purchase of two frigates following allegations Special Assistant to the President Christopher
Defense chief Delfin Lorenzana testifies before the Philippine Senate probe on the purchase of two frigates following allegations Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go tried to meddle in the $330 million contract and led to the dismissal of the Philippine navy chief Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 in Pasay City, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Amid widespread condemnation from the international community of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the secretary of the Department of National Defense said the Philippines will remain neutral on the issue, at least for now.

Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in an interview on Friday (Feb 25) that since the Philippines is not near Ukraine, we are not in a position to comment or condemn what’s happening in that part of the world.

Wala naman tayong pakialam sa Europe kung ano ang ginagawa nila doon, hindi naman tayo katabi ng Ukraine … Tayo, neutral muna tayo ngayon,” he said.

(We aren’t near Ukraine so we aren’t concerned with what they’re doing there … We’re neutral for now.)

However, Lorenzana assured that the Philippine Armed Forces is ready and has plans in place in case the conflict intensifies.

“‘Yung Armed Forces meron silang mga plano, gumagawa sila ng plano saka-sakali man magkakagulo,” Lorenzana added. “Hindi lang doon, kundi pati dito sa lugar natin ay handa tayo.”

(Our Armed Forces have plans, they’re crafting plans in case the conflict intensifies, not just there, but also here, we are ready.)

Several candidates for the 2022 Philippine national elections condemned Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, calling it unjustifiable and unacceptable.

Ka Leody de Guzman said that he is not in favor of any form of war as large corporations and manufacturers of the military-industrial complex are the only ones benefitting from this.

Vice President Leni Robredo meanwhile said that more than ensuring the safety of Filipino nationals in the country, we should also look into the repercussion this conflict creates in the global market.

Asian countries like Japan and Taiwan have released strong condemnation of the conflict, with Taiwan announcing that it will impose sanctions on Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that a total of 137 people died on the first day of the conflict.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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