Mario Fetalino

Welcome to PH, President Zelenski!

June 4, 2024 Mario Fetalino Jr. 154 views

A FRIEND was quite amazed upon learning that Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelenski was in town to pay President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. a visit.

I don’t know if President Zelenski reminded my buddy of the Ukrainians’ bravery in defending their country against Russian invasion or the beautiful women of Ukraine. But he was pretty much delighted to learn the foreign leader is here in the Philippines.

In his visit to Malacanang recently, President Zelenskyy asked President Marcos Jr. to send Filipino mental health workers to Ukraine to help promote the welfare and mental health of their soldiers amid the crisis in their country.

President Zelenskyy told President Marcos Ukraine is in need of more mental health workers for their soldiers and defenders who are at the forefront of the crisis their country is facing.

“Thanks, you mentioned about humanitarian possibilities especially for medicine and like I said to you, especially, psychological mental health and etc., – army. So, you understand how many people need their help when they come back, they can’t lose in the families,” Zelenskyy said.

“It’s difficult for them — to study again,” he added.

In response, President Marcos told the Ukrainian leader the Philippines can offer them help by sending Filipino mental health workers for their soldiers.

“That is something that I think we are able to offer,” President Marcos told Zelenskyy.

“The Philippines is quite well-known in healthcare in terms of providing assistance,” which is part of the country’s commitment to the United Nations (UN) for the peacekeeping process,” he explained.

“I am happy to do all that we can to make sure that we can help especially the civilians and the innocents that are involved in the war. This is something that comes naturally to the Philippines so this will be something that we could pursue,” he added.

President Zelenskyy arrived in Manila early this week for a one-day working visit after his appearance at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

The diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Ukraine span 32 years since it was formally established on April 7, 1992.

In 2022, Ukraine ranked as the 90th trading partner of the Philippines, the 119th export market and 76th import source. The total trade between the countries amounted USD16.9 million with export valued at USD1.49 million and imports at USD15.41 million.

Ukraine served as a second home to nearly 200 Filipinos. But the figure went down to 25, who are mostly married to Ukrainians who chose to be with their families amid the ongoing war with Russia.

At any rate, President Zelenskyy thanked President Marcos Jr. for the Philippines’ clear position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine territories.

He also expressed gratitude to the Philippines for its support to the United Nations (UN) resolutions backing efforts to bring peace in Ukraine.

“Thank you so much, Mr. President [and] your team. Very happy to be [here for] the first time in the Philippines, I’m sure not the last,” President Zelenskyy told President Marcos during their meeting in Malacañang.

“Thank you for this invitation. And we’re very thankful to be in your country and — which supports Ukraine in our territorial integrity and sovereignty. Thank you so much [for] your big word and clear position with our task about this Russia occupation of our territories. And thank you on your support in the UN Nations with your resolutions,” Zelenskyy said.

Last year, the Philippines renewed its call for Russia and Ukraine to settle their conflict through diplomacy. It pronounced its principled stance on Ukraine and has consistently voted in favor of six UN resolutions on Ukraine, with the last highlighting “the need for a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine.”

The Philippines supported the remaining five UN resolutions reaffirming the country’s support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine and other UN member states.

The Ukrainian leader said he was happy to hear from Marcos on his intention to participate in Ukraine’s basic steps to the peace wanted by the Ukrainian people — “to bring peace to our homes.”

He also thanked President Marcos for the Philippines’ participation to the Peace Summit, which the Ukrainian leader said “sends very strong signal.” With the backing of multiple nations, President Zelenski said the summit is the first very strong step to peace.

Zelenskyy also noted that Ukraine will open an embassy in Manila this year.

Welcome to the Philippines, President Zelenski!

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