By Darryl John Esguerra

PRESIDENTIAL WELCOME. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (right) welcomes visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Malacañan Palace in Manila on Monday (June 03, 2024). During their meeting, Zelenskyy conveyed his gratitude to Marcos for the support of the Philippines to Ukraine’s sovereignty and for its role in pushing for important United Nations resolutions amid the crisis in Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Presidential Photojournalists Association)

MANILA – Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appealed to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for humanitarian assistance, particularly in the mental health of Ukrainian soldiers amid the ongoing war with Russia.

In his meeting with Marcos at the Malacañan Palace on Monday morning, Zelenskyy said they need more mental health workers for their soldiers at the forefront of the crisis that their country has been facing for over two years now.

“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, as quoted by a Presidential Communications Office (PCO) news release.

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

For his part, Marcos told his Ukrainian counterpart that the Philippines could offer them help by sending Filipino mental health workers.

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

Marcos stressed that “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 for the peacekeeping process.

“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.

Zelenskyy arrived in Manila Sunday evening for a one-day working visit after his appearance at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

In an X (Twitter) post after their meeting, Zelenskyy thanked Marcos for the Philippines’ recognition of Ukraine’s sovereignty and for supporting important UN resolutions.

He said that they also discussed the inaugural Global Peace Summit and announced the Philippines’ commitment in the June 15-16 summit in Switzerland.

“We also talked about bilateral cooperation, particularly Ukrainian agricultural exports to the Philippines,” Zelensky said. (PNA)