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Sara on Russia-Ukraine conflict: Philippines should be neutral if interests not at risk

Vice presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said Monday that issues not directly involving the Philippines' interest should be treated with neutrality.

Sara made the remark when asked for her opinion on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

"Always neutral, if hindi naman involved ang Philippine interest, laging dapat mauna ang interest ng Pilipinas. That is the only time we take sides if our interest is at risk," Sara said at a news conference.

She said she would be "at first neutral until I am pushed against a wall to make a decision for the country."

Russia's actions in Ukraine had prompted sanctions from the international community, including Germany's deferred approval of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

The United States, Canada, and European countries had also slapped economic sanctions on Russia involving banks, oil refineries, and military equipment.

Sara also said the national government should prepare for the possible effects of the tension between the two countries in the Philippines.

"Hindi na 'yan siya... hindi na 'yan sikreto kung ano ang epekto ng wars. Nakita na natin sa nakaraang taon kung ano 'yung mga epekto, global effect ng giyera," Sara said.

She was also asked about how she will treat the issue on Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea. Mayor Sara said she would treat matters "always with diplomacy."

"[The] Philippines is a developing country, we are not a superpower. Every issue, every international issue and conflict natin, we should use diplomacy..." Mayor Sara said.

China has since ignored the arbitral ruling invalidating its massive claims in the West Philippine Sea. —NB, GMA News