PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte arrived in Davao City on Sunday afternoon after his five-day official visit to Russia, where he witnessed the signing of 10 business deals worth about $12.57 million, the presidential palace said yesterday.
In a speech during his meeting with the Filipino community in Russia late Saturday, Mr. Duterte took a swipe at the United States and European Union, which both have criticized his war on drugs that has killed thousands.
“They are the ones who make the world more chaotic,” he said in Filipino.
He also told Filipino workers there that the Philippine government was working with Russia to “legitimize” the stay of those who have issues with their working visas.
The president had invited Russian business leaders during a business forum at the House of the Unions in Moscow on Friday to invest in the Philippines especially in his infrastructure program.
“I invite you to participate in the massive ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program especially in transport and railway construction where Russia has high expertise,” he said in his speech.
“Let me assure you that your investments are assured of gains and protection in my country,” he added.
The Philippines and Russia signed 10 business agreements during Mr. Duterte’s visit, his spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement.
“These business agreements cover a wide range of areas, from cooperation of information exchange and collaboration on business development to exchange of information on investment environment and opportunities,” he said.
The deals also cover proposed cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants, supplying tuna, sardines and coconut products to the Russian market, as well as distribution, promotion and sale of Russian-made watches, vehicles, and medical technologies in the Philippines, Mr. Panelo said.
“The Constitution would not like it, it is prohibited,” Mr. Duterte told reporters when asked about the proposed cooperation on nuclear power plants. “That is why I have to talk to the Cabinet,” he said.
Malacañang said the two countries also agreed to cooperate on information exchange and collaborate on business development. They also agreed to exchange information on investment environment and opportunities, attract foreign investments in both countries, encourage companies to set up or expand their businesses, and organize business missions.
The Philippines and Russia likewise agreed to cooperate in the construction of nuclear power plants here.
They also signed separate deals for Century Pacific Food, Inc. to supply tuna and sardine products to Magnit Food Retail Chain, Dalimo and LLC Dalpromryba.
Pacific Agricultural Ventures Inc. also agreed to supply coconut milk products to Panasia Impex Co. Ltd.
Lifetruck International, Inc. was also appointed exclusive distributor of Sturmanskie watches and Kamaz vehicles in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, a deal was signed for the sale of Metatron Micro MRI Systems and its variations in the Philippines.
In his speech, Mr. Duterte said Russia is the Philippines’ priority trade and investment market.
The Palace said total trade between the Philippines and Russia last year grew 42% from a year earlier to $1.36 billion. Philippine exports to Russia rose to $86 million last year from almost $70 million in 2017, it added.
On Saturday, Mr. Duterte received an honorary doctorate degree from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. — Arjay L. Balinbin