PH, Russia to protect each other’s nationals
THE Philippines and Russia are one step closer to forging an agreement that would contribute to the protection of the rights and welfare of Filipinos in Russia, the Philippine ambassador to Moscow Carlos Sorreta said on Monday.
During his meeting with Consular Services Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs director Evgeny Ivanov, the two officials agreed to reinvigorate their efforts to finalize a draft to help protect the rights and welfare of Filipinos living and working in Russia and vise versa.
“One of the first things we did after I assumed my post here in Moscow in 2015 was to propose this agreement, given the importance we place on protecting our nationals here in Russia,” Sorreta said, adding the signing may be held this year.
Sorreta said the agreement would reinforce the Philippine Embassy in Moscow to help Filipinos in need of assistance.
“With increased protection, it is our hope that people-to-people exchanges will also be enhanced, particularly in the areas of trade, investment, tourism, education and culture,” he said.
Ivanov, for his part, assured Sorreta the Russian government saw the agreement positively and it was set to formally respond with its own version soon.
During the meeting, the Philippine embassy said both sides agreed the agreement must expand on existing international conventions on consular relations and would serve as a comprehensive document covering all aspects of consular relations.
There are between 5,000 and 10,000 Filipinos living or working in Russia while there are as many as 40,000 Russians who visit the Philippines every year.