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Philippine president’s bodyguards trained by Russia’s federal protection service — envoy

August 17, 2018, 18:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Long-term programs provide for training of navy officers, Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

© AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MOSCOW, August 17. /TASS/. Russia’s Federal Protection Service (FSO) has trained bodyguards for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and plans to provide training to Philippine navy officers, Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said in an interview with TASS.

According to the Philippine diplomat, training of military personnel is conducted under the military technical cooperation between Moscow and Manila. "It’s part of our defense cooperation agreement, the creation of working groups who will discuss the details and part of their agenda is training," he said.

He said that the agreement provides for various short-term courses. "For example the FSO, the federal protection service, they trained the soldiers who protect our president," he said, adding that long-term programs provide for training of navy officers. These plans were announced after a meeting between Russian Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Korolev and his Philippine counterpart, Robert Empedrad, during the celebrations of Russia’s Navy Day in St. Petersburg.

"When this will start? I hope, soon, because they have to start learning Russian first," Sorreta said, adding that Moscow and Manila may set up working groups that will be tasked to draft a memorandum of understanding in concrete sectors, such as aviation, navy, land troops, etc.

The two countries’ Defense Ministers, Sergei Shoigu of Russia and Delfin Lorenzana of the Philippines, signed a military technical cooperation on October 24, 2017. Under the agreement, Russia has supplied the Philippines with a batch of grenade launchers.

At his meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of an APEC summit in Da Nang in November 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that Russian was ready to develop relations with the Philippines, "including defense and military technical cooperation."

In an interview with TASS in early 2018, Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovayev said that the contract for grenade launchers could be followed by others.

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