Duterte asks Putin to visit, welcomes new envoys
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday accepted the credentials of the newly designated ambassadors of Russia, India and five other countries during a virtual ceremony held in Malacañang.
In accepting the letter of credence of Russian Ambassador Marat Ignatyevich Pavlov, Duterte, speaking from Malago Club House, said the Philippines considered Russia “a good friend and partner” having strengthened cooperation over the years in defense and security, health, science and technology, and economy.
“We aim for an even more robust and deeper cooperation in the coming years,” the President told Pavlov.
He also thanked Russia for its offer to supply Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 and to share technology on vaccine production with the Philippines.
“I am confident that our collaboration in possible distribution and manufacturing of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in the Philippines will greatly contribute to continued development of the friendly, constructive relations between [our countries],” Pavlov said.
Duterte reiterated his invitation for Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit the Philippines, as soon as circumstances will allow, as the two countries mark their 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year.
In welcoming Indian Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran, Duterte noted the long-standing ties between Manila and New Delhi, adding that the relationship has been gaining greater momentum due to the synergies between his administration’s independent foreign policy and India’s “Act East Policy.”
The President said he looked forward to honoring Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who invited him to visit India, even as they plan for a virtual summit.
“The Philippines is committed to further enhance cooperation with India in defense, security, trade and investments, and in combating the COVID-19 pandemic,” Duterte told Kumaran.
Kumaran said India would work with the Philippines to ensure a stable and progressive Indo-Pacific region by enhancing cooperation on defense and maritime security, space science, the digital economy and pandemic response.
The other ambassadors who virtually presented their credentials were Claudio Alberto Rojas Rachel of Chile, Dr. Titanilla Tóth of Hungary, Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad Kazi of Pakistan, Juha Markus Pyykkö of Finland and Ahmed Shehabeldin Ibrahim Abdullah of Egypt.
Duterte expressed hope for a stronger cooperation with the countries they represent in areas of trade, education, counterterrorism and health care.
He particularly lauded the Finnish ambassador for his country’s decision to reopen its embassy in Manila in September.
“We are particularly interested in expanding ties, particularly in ICT (information and communications technology), renewable energy and clean technology,” the President said.
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