Davao International Airport
May 22, 2017

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivered his departure statement at the Davao International Airport for his official visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation from May 22-26, 2017.

In his speech, President Duterte highlighted the objectives of his visit to Russia. ‘’My visit underscores the independence of the Philippines’ foreign policy and the firm resolve to broaden the horizons of friendship and cooperation with other nations,’’ he stressed.

‘’My administration will give Philippines-Russia relations the importance commensurate to its full potential. We will push for pragmatic engagement in the politico-security sphere, increased economic cooperation, and enhanced cultural and people-to-people exchanges. This is a concrete expression of this deliberate policy decision,’’ the President added.

The Chief Executive also mentioned his upcoming meeting with the Russian Federation leaders wherein they would discuss important matters beneficial to the two countries. ‘’I will meet with President Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. We will discuss ways of charting the future direction of our partnership across many areas. We will exchange views on regional and international issues to determine how we can best advance our shared interests,’’ he stated.

In St. Petersburg, President Duterte will attend the Philippine-Russian Business Forum that seeks more business opportunities for both countries. ‘’Certainly, I will take the opportunity to engage the business leaders in Russia. With the Philippines’ emphasis on sustaining our economic growth, we seek responsible economic partners who will become our new allies in development,’’ the President said.

He is also set to meet with the Filipino community where 75 percent of the overseas absentee voters elected him in the May 2016 elections. ‘’I will also meet our Filipino community in Moscow. I will thank them for their contributions to nation building. I will also tell them that your government continues to work very hard to give you the country and future you all deserve,’’ the President added.

President Duterte revealed his fervent wishes on the trip, saying, ‘’It is my hope that this official visit will lay the firm foundation for a robust, comprehensive, and mutually-beneficial Philippines–Russia partnership. Founded on shared aspirations, sovereign equality and pragmatism, there is room for growth. There is room for positive change.’’