MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is set to receive an honorary degree from a top Russian university this week, after declining a similar award from the University of the Philippines last month.
The Moscow State Institute of International Relations will confer an honorary doctorate on Duterte on Wednesday, the second day of his 4-day official visit to Russia, according to a schedule released by Malacañang.
The institute, also known as MGIMO University, is run by the Russian ministry of foreign affairs and is widely considered as Moscow's premiere school for international studies and foreign policy.
The planned conferment of honorary degree is the first that Duterte will receive as President.
MGIMO has granted honorary degrees to prominent world leaders including former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former president Fidel Valdez Ramos, and late Singaporean minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Duterte is set to deliver a policy speech at MGIMO after receiving the doctorate degree.
"The President will share his ideas on how to achieve peace and security, especially in the Asia Pacific region,” Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Maria Cleofe Natividad said in a statement.
Duterte is also expected to hold dialogue with MGIMO students and donate books to the institute.
The President will leave for Russia at 2:30 p.m. Monday.
"We also see this visit as an indication of our strong common desire to enhance and strengthen bilateral relations," Natividad said, noting that the 40-year-old bilateral ties between Moscow and Manila is still at a "nascent stage."
"The relations can be best described as cordial, albeit, modest in scope and depth. Thus, we consider this visit 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,” Natividad said.
Duterte is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the first and second day of the official visit.
Duterte will also sign several agreements with Russia, promote business investments in the Philippines, and visit the Filipino community.