PH, Russia defense MOU in the offing
DAVAO CITY―National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said Thursday a Memorandum of Understanding on security cooperation between the Philippines and Russia was on the way.
In a press conference in Davao City a day after the meeting of President Rodrigo Duterte and Russian Federation Secretary Nikolay P. Putrushev, Esperon said the MOU was expected to be signed when Duterte visit Russia.
The Philippines and Russia will ensure cooperation on the fields of security and intelligence, defense and the military, law enforcement, terrorism and transitional crimes, and in enforcing maritime laws and combating illegal drugs.
“Although we talked a lot on the bilateral talks yesterday [Thursday], everything is put on hold until the MOU is signed, but certainly there are many things that we can do now even without the agreements,” Esperon said.
He said the MOU was crafted during the visit of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. last December.
He said that during several occasions when the leaders of the two countries met, the leaders were already reviewing things to come up with the MOU and including economic cooperation.
“Earlier we exported many products to Russia, to Vladivostok,” Esperon said.
“We have an $85-million two-way trade right now and the dialogue between President Duterte and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin in Apec about the volume of $2.5 billion in agricultural products and other things that can go with the trade.”
Esperon said there were no talks yet on joint military exercises.
“I would say that the military cooperation will be more on schooling, technical exchange, information exchange and intelligence exchange,” Esperon said.
He said the Philippins’ intelligence community could learn from KGB.
He also said there were also talks on securing Russian firearms for the military and navy.
“We are entertaining all offers as you may have noted, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is in continuous buildup for a credible defense capability. We are doing multi-sourcing now,” Esperon said.