MOSCOW — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrived here on Monday, May 22, for a four-day official visit which aims to further strengthen bilateral relations with Russia.
The plane carrying President Duterte and his official delegation touched down at Vnukovo International Airport at 11:18 p.m. (Moscow time). Moscow is five hours behind Manila.
The President was accompanied by Cabinet members led by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Ernesto Pernia, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go and Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian were also part of the delegation.
The Presiden’s trip in Moscow will be highlighted by his meeting with two of Russia’s highest officials — President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Duterte will be meeting with Medvedev first on May 24 at the Reception House of the Government of the Russian Federation.
The two leaders are scheduled to have a bilateral meeting and an expanded one together with their respective government officials.
Duterte will meet with Putin on May 25 at Kremlin, which is the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation.
They are slated to have a restricted meeting to be followed by an official luncheon and expanded meeting together with the officials of their respective governments.
The two are expected to sign several agreements that will further deepen cooperation between the two countries.
They are also expected to hold a joint press conference.
Also part of the President’s itinerary is the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Aleksandrovsky Sad.
He is also scheduled to deliver a policy speech as he receives an honorary doctorate at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).
President Duterte will also take the opportunity to meet with top businessmen in Russia as he is scheduled to have a roundtable meeting with the Russian Federation CEO at the Four Seasons Hotel.
This will be followed by the Philippine-Russia Business Forum to be held at Tchaikovsky Hall at Four Seasons Hotel.
His visit to Moscow will be capped with his regular meeting with the Filipino community which will be held at Tesla Place.
There are around 5,000 Filipinos based in Russia.
The President will then proceed to St. Petersburg to visit Admiralty Shipyard and to attend another Philippine-Russia Business Forum, which will be held at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Department of Foreign Affairs had noted that President Duterte’s visit to Russia is expected to mark a new chapter in the bilateral relations between the two countries.
In a pre-departure briefing in Malacanang, the Department of Foreign Affairs said that the relations between the two countries can be best described as cordial, albeit, modest in scope and depth. Thus, the visit will be considered as a landmark that will send a strong message of the Philippines’ commitment to seek new partnerships and strengthen relations with non-traditional partners such as Russia.###PND