10 deals signed in Russia even with Duterte back home
Moscow — Filipino and Russian officials have signed 10 agreements — including on defense cooperation intelligence sharing — following President Rodrigo Duterte’s shortened trip to Moscow, officials said.
The other deals covered the fields of agriculture, trade, tourism, culture, transportation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The agreements are expected to deepen the relationship between the two countries.
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano signed on behalf of the Philippines the agreement on defense cooperation between the Philippines and Russia.
Under its terms, the two countries would have official visits and allow participation of observers in military training exercises. There would also be military port calls.
Exchanges in terms of trainings, seminars, and best practices, exchange views and information on defense affairs, and develop relations in military education would also be expanded.
The agreement comes as Mr. Duterte tries to seek a soft loan from Russia for the purchase of firearms to combat terrorists, since the United States had canceled an arms deal with the Philippines.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon signed the agreement on exchange of intelligence information between the two countries.
Russia had earlier offered the Philippines access to an intelligence database to help it fight crime and terrorism.
Cayetano also signed the Agreement on Cooperation on Transportation, where the Philippines’ and Russia’s transportation departments would endeavor to exchange technology and best practices in transportation.
He signed as well an agreement to mutually promote Filipino and Russian participation in international film and art festivals held in each other’s countries. It would also foster the exchange of music, circus, dance and theater groups or individual artists.
The fourth agreement he signed was the Plan of Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, to pave the way for more intimate interaction between the offices and closer understanding of each other’s policies.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture, signed by Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, was expected to bring about food security in the Philippines through cooperation and research in fisheries, livestock breeding, and the processing, transportation and storage of agriculture and fishery products.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez signed a memorandum agreement to promote mutually beneficial trade and investment cooperation between the two countries and product development.
Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña meanwhile signed a cooperation deal on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. This would allow the Philippines and Russia to work on using atomic energy in accordance with domestic laws, rules and regulations, and international agreements.
The Joint Action Program in the Field of Tourism 2017-2019 between the Department of Tourism and its Russian counterpart, signed by Secretary Wanda Teo, would promote the exchange of visitors between the two countries.
The Philippines is hoping to capture a slice of the 3 million Russians who travel to Southeast Asia in a year.
Cayetano said Russia was waiting for Manila’s defense shopping list.
“So they said, well, we have the framework in place through our agreements to cooperate. Now, make the proposals and we will study them and they will do all efforts to accommodate,” Cayetano said.
“So it’s progressing in the sense that there are now open doors,” he added.
Cayetano said Mr. Duterte explained to the Russian officials that he wanted to procure arms that would minimize collateral damage, such as smart bombs.
“So these are really modern equipment that can be used to fight terrorists that will avoid injuring or causing deaths or damage to innocent bystanders or people in a community, and also to prevent collateral damage,” he said./rga
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