By Ben Rosario
MOSCOW, Russia – Notwithstanding President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to cut short his four-day official visit here, the Philippines and Russia signed ten agreements on Wednesday (May 24), including arrangements for defense cooperation and use of nuclear technology for power generation.
rte’s proposal for the grant of soft loan in the acquisition of “precision-guided” weapons and other advanced military hardware that would help his government address terrorism in Mindanao is not included in the deals sealed by the two countries.
However, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano disclosed that President Vladimir Putin has requested Duterte to send the shopping list of military equipment the Philippines is interested in acquiring.
“The response of the Russian Federation through President Putin was very, very generous. So they said, well, we have the framework in place through our agreements to cooperate,” Cayetano stated.
“Now, make the proposals and we will study them,” Cayetano said in paraphrasing Putin’s statement during bilateral talks with Duterte who immediately left Russia Tuesday to attend to the threat of IS-influenced Maute rebels in Mindanao.
“They will do all efforts to accommodate,” said Cayetano as he aired optimism about the proposed deal.
It will be recalled that in his first encounter with Putin in Lima, Peru last year, Duterte said the Russian leader was very positive in helping the Philippines fight terror and had even offered easy terms for firearms supply.
Cayetano, together with Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Pena, signed the PH-Russia agreements during simple ceremonies at the Four Seasons Hotel here.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. had already signed an agreement that will launch and strengthen the exchange of intelligence information in both security and criminal threats.
The deal documents have previously been signed by their respective Russian counterparts, Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta explained.
The Philippine Cabinet officials and Russian ministers have been granted authority by Duterte and Putin, respectively, to seal the agreements.
The agreements are as follows:
- Defense Cooperation Agreement – Guarantees expansion of exchanges in training and develop defense cooperation between parties.
- Tourism Joint Action Program 2017-2019 – Commitment of both countries to promote each other’s tourism industry.
- Memorandum of Understanding on Agriculture Cooperation – Contains assurance of cooperation through research and studies in agriculture and fisheries, processing and transportation of agriculture and fishery products.
- Protocol on Cooperation between the National Commission for Culture and the Arts of the Philippines and the Ministry of Culture for the Russian Federation – Forging cultural exchanges and participation of both countries in each other’s international film and art festivals. Joint holding of cultural events and celebrations are included.
- Agreement on Cooperation on Transportation – Government transportation agencies of both countries to hold exchanges in technology and best practices.
- Memorandum of Intent between the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry and Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development – Creating a stronger and mutually beneficial investment and trade environment that will include the holding of business missions and trade activities.
- Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Industry Development – Philippines and Russia to pursue promotion of their respective industrial sectors and ensure cooperation in helping respective firms to enter into subcontracting deals for various industries.
- Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Science and Technology of the Philippines and the State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) on the Use of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes – The deal centers on the exchange of technological know-how and experiences in the use of nuclear energy in power supply.
- Agreement on Exchange of Intelligence Information. The deal binds both Philippines and Russia to share vital intelligence information to address their respective security and criminal threats.
- Agreement on Plan of Consultations between the Department of Foreign Affairs of Philippines and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Russia. This guarantees better interaction between the various offices of the two countries.
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