President Duterte has commended Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev for helping reinvigorate the country’s relations with Russia, especially in the areas of defense, trade, and public health.
The President cited the Russian envoy for his successful tour of duty in the country and conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu on the ambassador during his farewell call Wednesday. The Russian envoy is expected to end his five-year tour of duty in the Philippines this month.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte congratulated H.E. Igor A. Khovaev, outgoing Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation, on a successful tour of duty in the Philippines during the latter’s farewell call on 14 October 2020,” Presidential assistant on foreign affairs Robert Borje said in a statement.
“The President lauded Amb. Khovaev for his key role in helping redefine and reinvigorate Philippines-Russia relations in line with the Administration’s independent foreign policy thrust,” he said.
Borje noted that the country’s ties with Russia have “broadened and deepened” during Khovaev’s tenure. He said several agreements were signed while consultative mechanisms were established especially in the areas of defense and security, trade and economic cooperation, science and technology, and health.
“President Duterte particularly noted Ambassador Khovaev’s role in facilitating confidence-building activities between Philippine and Russian defense establishments through exchange of goodwill naval visits and training of Philippine law enforcement personnel, among other joint activities,” he said.
In the meeting with the President, Borje said Khovaev mentioned Russia’s commitment to build an enduring partnership with the Philippines over the long term.
The ambassador also identified promising areas of growth, including in trade and investment, defense and security and public health, particularly in the common fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Borje.
“The Ambassador welcomed the upward trajectory of Philippines-Russia cooperation under President Duterte’s independent foreign policy,” he said.
“Ambassador Khovaev thanked the President for the positive momentum of Philippines-Russia relations capped by unprecedented multiple meetings between President Duterte and President Vladimir Putin,” he said.
The President first visited Russia in May 2017 to meet his “idol” Putin but had to cut short his trip to address a terror siege in Marawi City. He returned to Russia in October 2019 for another round of meeting with Putin to seek closer economic and defense cooperation.
Recently, the President accepted Russia’s offer of its coronavirus vaccine and even volunteered to take a vaccine shot in the clinical trials as a gesture of trust and gratitude.
Russia earlier announced it has registered the world’s first coronavirus vaccine and aired plans to share the supply with the Philippines.
The Palace said the Philippines will work with Russia on the clinical trials, production and supply of the vaccine.