Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin communicated via teleconference on Tuesday night to talk about their respective countries’ Covid-19 response.

Duterte expressed gratitude for Russia’s “commitment to bolster cooperation in various areas, including in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic,” a statement from his office read.

The two leaders also talked about the global vaccine situation and the importance of mobilizing vaccines to as many countries as possible.

Aside from Covid-19 concerns, defense and military issues were also discussed.

“Both leaders also noted the steady progress in defense and security cooperation between the two countries, fostered by regular exchanges between defense, intelligence and military agencies, and vowed to sustain the momentum gained over the past five years,” the statement read.

“President Putin highlighted the positive trajectory of Russia-Philippines relations and emphasized the many opportunities for greater cooperation in the fields of trade and investments, agriculture and energy development even as both countries work on further enhancing political-security cooperation,” it added.

The Philippines has ordered 20 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccines. John Ezekiel J. Hirro