Philippines, Russia sign defense, trade, tourism agreements

Doris Bigornia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 25 2017 05:46 PM

Foreign Affairs Secretary Allan Peter Cayetano presents to members of the media the bilateral agreements signed between the Philippines and Russia. Presidential Photo

MOSCOW - The Philippines and Russia pushed through with the signing of agreements on defense, tourism and agriculture even as President Rodrigo Duterte cut short his official visit here, officials said.

The defense cooperation agreement will pave the way for the procurement of military hardware from Russia, said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who signed the deal on Wednesday.

"Russia does not have a military interest in Southeast Asia 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," Cayetano said.

The agreement will also expand training exchanges, said Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol signed a memorandum of understanding with his Russian counterpart for cooperation in agriculture and fisheries, livestock breeding, processing and transportation and storage of produce.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez signed an agreement to foster mutually beneficial trade between the Philippines and Russia.

A three-year joint action program on tourism starting this year was signed by Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo with her Russian counterpart.

"We will continue to promote the Philippines as a must-see destination... I am confident that tourists will still come to our country in fact there still a lot of interests of doing events in our country," she said.

Cayetano also signed agreements for exchange of information on transportation and culture.

A memorandum of agreement was also signed with the Russian State Atomic Energy Corp for cooperation on nuclear energy.

President Rodrigo Duterte cut short his official visit to Russia and returned to the Philippines on Wednesday following deadly clashes between government troops and the terrorist Maute group in the southern city of Marawi.

The fresh violence prompted Duterte to place the entire southern region of Mindanao under martial law.