Marcos-Duterte duo takes neutral stand on Ukraine-Russia conflict

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Pasay City (CNN Philippines, March 2) — The Bongbong Marcos-Sara Duterte duo on Tuesday adopted a neutral position on the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

"I don't think there is a need to take a stand," Marcos said when asked about the invasion in Eastern Europe. "We are not involved except for our nationals," the presidential bet said in an ambush interview in a hotel in Pasay City.

Marcos pushed for what he called pro-Filipino foreign policy without taking sides with any power like the United States or China.

Dozens of countries, including the Philippines, condemned Russia for its attack on its neighbor.

Marcos said the government should consider national interest first, especially the plight of Filipinos in Ukraine, in dealing with the crisis.

More than 300 Filipinos are in Ukraine, but the Department of Foreign Affairs accounted for 181 persons so far.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Arriola said other Filipinos feared they will be forced to come home if they get in touch with the Philippine embassy.

"I worry about our nationals. Marami na raw napunta sa (many of them went to) Poland but some wouldn't want to be repatriated. That's the problem for the Philippines now," Marcos said.

He said simply relocating Filipinos may be unsafe as the attack on Ukraine is on different fronts.

Meanwhile, Duterte shared position, opposite that of her father's administration.

The Philippines backed a United Nations General Assembly resolution that condemned the Russian invasion and called for a cessation of hostilities in Ukraine.

"The Philippine interest should always come first. That is the only time we take sides, if our interest is at risk," the vice presidential bet said in a separate media briefing in Davao City on Monday.

Asked if she supported the administration's position, she said, "As a local chief executive, all of us follow the direction ng (of the) national government."