Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday confirmed that the possible purchase of submarines from Russia was discussed during his recent visit to the country.
"There are discussions. But they know that we are shopping and has yet to decide where to buy," Lorenzana told reporters.
The Defense Chief reiterated that South Korea is also another country being eyed to buy submarines from, as part of the Philippine military's modernization program.
It was in June when Lorenzana revealed that the government was considering buying submarines from the two countries.
"Korea is a candidate too. But the Russian made is better and more expensive," Lorenzana said.
"We are not a very rich country, we may opt for a more affordable platform. We’ll see, the jury is still out," Lorenzana added.
Lorenza pointed that "the cost per submarine plus the annual expense to maintain it is a big consideration" to look into as well.
"Pag-iisipan nating mabuti yan. Our new defense attache here, Colonel Dennis Pastor is looking at the military courses that our officers and soldiers could avail to improve our capabilities. Earliest exchange of students is 2019 depending on how fast they learn the Russian language," he said.
Lorenzana further said that he was able to talk to the Deputy Defense Minister of Russia and discussed military training between the two countries.
"'Yung Deputy niya ang nakausap ko ng 20 minutes. Napag-usapan namin ang military to military relations, palitan ng mga sundalo sa military training, port visits ng Navy ships to Vladivostok, participation in military exercises," he said.
Defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong previously said that the visit of Lorenzana aimed to improve the defense ties between the Philippines and Russia, which only has an existing agreement on the exchange of personnel signed by former Defense chief Gilbert Teodoro in 2009.
On the purchase of submarines, Andolong had said it was still under "research stage." — MDM, GMA News