President Duterte arrives in Moscow with 19 high-level official delegation

MOSCOW — President Rodrigo Duterte has arrived here in Moscow, Russia past 11 p.m. Monday (past 4 a.m. May 23, Manila time).

Nineteen high-level officials are joining the President’s official visit to Russia which include Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affiars Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and National Security Council Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

The country’s economic development chiefs are also in Moscow including Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo, and Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato De La Peña.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar, Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go, and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian are also part of the official delegation here.

On Wednesday, President Duterte is set to have bilateral meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

A wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is scheduled on Wednesday afternoon before the President will be conferred for an honorary doctorate degree at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University).

The meeting between President Duterte and President Vladimir Putin is set for Thursday in Kremlin.

President Duterte and President Putin will also witness the signing of various memoranda of understanding between the two countries.

There will also be meetings with the business community and Filipino community in Russia.

In a previous interview, Lopez said about 200 to 300 businessmen are attending the Philippines-Russia business fora in Moscow and St. Petersburg from Wednesday to Friday.

A visit to the Admiralty Shipyard will take place Friday.

In his departure statement in Davao City Monday, President Duterte emphasized that his visit here will highlight the country’s independent foreign policy.

He also noted that the official visit to Russia aims to boost cooperation and opportunities between the two countries.

“With its geographic footprint in the Asia-Pacific region and its strategic interests in the region, a positive engagement is required to find areas of synergies in interests,” the President said.

“There is much room to develop mutually beneficial cooperation. There are many opportunities that needed to be explored,” he added. Kris Crismundo/