President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed that the Philippines had placed an order of 12 cargo helicopters from Russia during an interview with a Russian television network. The plan to purchase the helicopters from Russia got delayed due to budget constraint but it was revisited and reprogrammed the funds.
In 2019, it was reported that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was eyeing to buy 16 helicopters and military equipment from Russia as part of its modernization program.
The Philippines president also expressed his desire to partner with Russia and other eastern countries in trade and commerce during the interview. He invited Russian Businesses to come to the Philippines and look for prospective businesses.
In 2017, Russia, the second largest arms exporter in the world, had donated weapons, ammunition and military trucks to the Philippines to help its counter-terrorism effort. The country could play a larger role in defense supplies to the Philippines in the wake of the recently termination of the Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, indicating a potential pivot towards China and Russia by President Duterte.
Between 2009 and 2018, the United States was the largest defense supplier to the Philippines (34% of total), followed by South Korea and Indonesia.
(Sources: CNN Philippines; Philippine Daily Inquirer; GMA News)