Duterte arrives in Russia for second visit

Pia Ranada
Duterte arrives in Russia for second visit
The Philippine leader and several Cabinet members will visit Sochi and Moscow from October 2 to 5

 

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his official delegation arrived in the Russian capital of Moscow early morning Wednesday, October 2 (Moscow time), kickstarting his second official visit to the northern country.

Duterte’s plane landed at around 3 am on Wednesday at the Vnukovo Military Base Airport. He will be in Russia until Saturday, October 5. Aside from Moscow, the Philippine leader will also visit Sochi city.

With him are top economic and security officials, as well as his longtime aide and now senator Bong Go. The delegation includes the following:

  • Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr
  • Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea
  • Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III
  • Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
  • National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr
  • Interior Secretary Eduardo Año
  • Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles
  • Agriculture Secretary William Dar
  • Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi
  • Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez
  • Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III
  • Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña
  • Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu
  • Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar
  • Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo
  • Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta
  • Senator Bong Go

Aside from the government delegation, businessmen and corporate representatives are joining Duterte’s official trip. They will participate in a business forum with Russian executives that has been organized by the Department of Trade and Industry especially for Duterte’s visit.

Schedule highlights

What will Duterte be up to in Russia this time around? Here’s a list of major events during the trip. (READ: Duterte’s Russia activities: Speeches at think tank forum, institute for Russian diplomats)

  • October 2, Wednesday (Moscow)
    • Bilateral meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
    • Courtesy call of Igor Sechin, Chief Executive Officer of Russian energy company ROSNEF
  • October 3, Thursday (Sochi)
    • Bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
    • Bilateral meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II
    • Duterte will give a speech at the Valdai Forum’s plenary session in Sochi
  • October 4, Friday (back in Moscow)
    • Duterte to lay wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
    • Duterte to tour the Kremlin Palace
    • Philippines-Russia Business Forum at the House of the Unions
    • Philippine Cultural Gala Performance
  • October 5, Saturday
    • Duterte to be conferred with an Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) by the Moscow State Institute of International Relations
    • Duterte to meet with members of the Filipino community in Russia
    • Duterte to depart for Davao City, Philippines

Duterte’s meeting with Putin, who the Philippine chief executive has called his “idol” and “favorite leader,” will be their 4th so far. 

They previously met in Vietnam during the November 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November, preceded by their meeting in May 2017 when Duterte first visited Russia. Their first encounter was during the 2016 APEC summit in Peru.

Duterte’s October Russia visit is meant to enhance cooperation on many policy aspects, including economic exchange.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Amelita Aquino said the trade imbalance between the two countries continues to favor Russia.

But she said that many economic opportunities await the Philippines, especially when it comes to trade in agricultural goods.

Defense and the possible purchase of Russian defense equipment is likely on the agenda, given the presence of Filipino security officials in the delegation.

In their last meeting, Duterte and Putin spoke of enhancing defense cooperation in the form of the Philippines’ readiness to buy defense assets from Russia and an agreement to open up each other’s ports for the military vessels of the other.

In his 2017 visit to Russia, Duterte was supposed to visit a military shipyard in St Petersburg.

Duterte had to cut short that trip following the eruption of the Marawi siege. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.