The Philippines and the USA have been allies for decades. All Philippine presidents, as a rule, followed the lead given by the USA. The election of Rodrigo Duterte changed decades-old Philippine policy. Duterte is an assertive man and he decided to follow an independent policy. He accepted an invitation to visit Russia.

The Philippine president began a five-day trip to Moscow to meet his "favorite hero" Vladimir Putin. President Duterte arrived in Moscow but had to cut short his visit because of trouble back home. In his absence, Islamic militants seized hostages in the eastern province.

Duterte declared martial law in the region and flew home. This news is reported by CNN International.

Duterte and Putin

Duterte has been critical of American policy and on a number of occasions severely lambasted the Americans. The Philippine President met Putin at an International Summit in November last year and accepted an invitation to visit Russia. Since then military cooperation between the two nations has increased and two Russian flotillas visited Manila. Military cooperation with the USA was scaled down. Duterte pointedly also visited the Russian warship docked in Manila port.

Duterte and America

The main aim of Duterte is to try and get precision weaponry, to use against Muslim insurgents.

He had turned to Russia after the US state department had halted sales of latest rifles for the police. According to Yahoo news, the president stated "I don’t want anything to do with the US and I want them to stop telling me what to do. I’ve never been to their country, and when they invited me to Trump’s inauguration I declined because I was planning to visit Russia.”

Duterte in Moscow

President Duterte arrived on Monday in Moscow and was given a ceremonial guard of honor.

A slew of documents was signed though Duterte cut short his visit because of trouble back home. Duterte is charting an independent policy. He has stated that the South China Sea problem could have been nipped in the bud if the USA was serious and had sent five aircraft carriers to the disputed waters. He feels the West does double talk.

He has stated "I have nothing against America (U.S President Donald) is my friend. But my foreign policy has shifted. I want to deal with China and Russia because in the western world, its double talk." This was reported by Sputnik news. It will be interesting to watch Duterte's actions in the days to come.