Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev’s great contribution in bolstering Philippines-Russia ties

Published October 10, 2020, 8:30 PM

by Former House Speaker Jose C. De Venecia Jr.


Jose de Venecia Jr.
Former Speaker of the House

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev concludes his tour of duty in the Philippines with the Philippines-Russia ties in a remarkably robust condition since the establishment of our two countries diplomatic relations in 1976.

His landmark contributions in enlarging and deepening economic, political, and socio-cultural relations between the Philippines and Russia did not go unacknowledged as the Philippine House of Representatives conferred upon him the Congressional Medal of Achievement, the highest award  bestowed by the House.

Indeed the distinguished and dynamic Russian diplomat, who also concurrently serves as his country’s envoy to the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Micronesia, ­worked tirelessly to foster a better and deeper bond between the Filipino and Russian peoples.

Ambassador Khovaev skilfully worked with Philippine envoys to help make President Rodrigo Duterte’s official visits to Russia in 2017 and in October last year successful and difficult to forget.

We are also grateful to Ambassador Khovaev for helping facilitate the visit of then Senate President Koko Pimentel and senior House leaders representing various political parties in the Philippines to Moscow in October, 2018, for the 10th General Assembly of our International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), which we founded, hosted by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and the ruling United Russia Party. Prime Minister Medvedev is chairman of the United Russia Party.

President Duterte’s PDP-Laban, Lakas-CMD, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party, Liberal Party, Centrist Democratic Party, and several party-list organizations were among the participants in the ICAPP Moscow summit.

Russia’s ruling United Russia Party sits in the 39-member Standing Committee of the ICAPP and is represented by foreign relations specialist Senator Andrey Klimov, who met with President Duterte in Malacanang three years ago and continues to be a good friend of the Filipino people.

The ICAPP represents some 350 ruling and opposition political parties in 52 countries in Asia, including the major political parties in the Philippines. We  have served as founding chairman and chairman of its ICAPP Standing Committee since 2000.

As speaker of the House of Representatives, we initiated and instituted the Congressional Medal of Achievement in November, 2002, to “honor political, economic, and cultural leaders who have distinguished themselves through their life-work and vision” and who have contributed to enriching relations with the Philippines and Asia.

We believe that exemplary leaders both here in the Philippines and in the international community “deserve honor and recognition, so that they may serve as models and inspiration to others and especially among the young.”

As then speaker of the House, we had the privilege of conferring the Congressional Medal of Achievement on Presidents Nelson Mandela of South Africa, George W. Bush of the US, Hu Jintao of China, Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam of India, Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe of Japan, Jose Maria Aznar of Spain, Wilfred Martens of Belgium, KjellMagneBondevik of Norway and Senate President Pier Ferdinando Casini of Italy, among others.

Incidentally, on our invitation as speaker, President Bush addressed the joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives in October, 2003; Presidents Hu and Musharraf, respectively, in April, 2005; and President Kalamon February in 2006.

These great leaders enlarged their countries’ diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties with the Philippines and the Filipino people.