Since it was reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited President Rodrigo Duterte to visit his country, Filipinos in Russia who supported Duterte in the 2016 elections could not help but get excited.
"I'm super excited! I'm one of his millions [of] supporters," said Ystiel Mina, 29, a part-time cleaner in Moscow.
On Friday, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Maria Cleofe Natividad announced that Duterte is flying to Russia on May 22 for an official visit. He will stay there until May 26.
Eva Pecho, 49, a stay-out cleaner in Moscow, was as excited as Mina.
"Lahat ng OFW dito sa Russia ay excited na talaga sa pagbisita ng Pangulo. Supporter [kasi] kami ng Du30," she said, adding that he and other Filipinos in Moscow are updated on the president's actions toward OFWs.
"Sa mga nababalitaan namin dito na magandang ginagawa ng gobyerno, favor talaga ako," she said.
Even Allan Dave Breynard Lucero, 24, student in Belgorod State Institute of Arts and Culture, said he was thankful that Duterte honored Putin's invitation, as it would give Filipinos in Russia a chance to see him in person.
“Excited ako. At hindi lang ako ang excited, lahat kaming mga Pinoy dito, excited. At kami ay nasasayahan na niyaya ni President Putin ang ating presidente," he said.
Putin extended the invitation during a meeting at the sidelines of the APEC Leaders' Meeting in Peru in November last year.
A former Davao City mayor who served multiple terms, Duterte has been controversial for cozying up to China and Moscow at the time declaring that he's breaking the Philippines' military and economic alliance with the US, its long-standing ally.
Luceo said he doesn't see a problem with this. “Kung makikipag-alliance man siya sa Russia at China, aba, maganda un. Ang Russia ay sakop ng Eurasia at ang China ng Asia. Dalawang malalaking bansa. At malalakas ang military force,” he said.
Regarding US, he said: "Sa matagal na panahon na ang kaalyansa natin ay ang US, sa palagay ko naman ay panahon na para mabago naman kung sa China at Russia naman tayo makipag-alyansa. Maayos din namang mga bansa ang China at Russia."
Minsa opined that alliance with Russia would benefit the Philippine military.
"If our president will pursue strengthening alliance with Russia, I think the Philippines will gain enforcement capabilities, more military equipment to fight terrorism. Baka may mga Russian companies pa silang mahikayat na mag-invest sa bansa natin. Baka payagan pa tayo mag-import ng mga prutas at bigas dito sa Russia na makakatulong sa mga farmers natin," she said.
Pecho, on the other hand, is hoping the status of OFWs in Russia would also change. "Lalo na sa aming mga trabaho, lalo na sa aming working visa na number one naming problema dito." —KBK, GMA News