THE Philippine Navy will do the passing exercise or passex with the Russian warships once they sail out to sea from the Manila on Jan. 7, spokesman Captain Lued Lincuna said on Thursday.
He said the traditional naval passex was given to all navy counterparts visiting the country.
Lincuna made his statement even as Malacañang said the Philippines was open to strengthening its military engagements with Russia by holding more joint military exercises in the future.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said President Rodrigo Duterte had expressed his interest in working with both China and Russia “to make this world peaceful” and to enhance its ties with them.
“It also is an indication that maritime cooperation can further be enhanced to enhance diplomacy and camaraderie,” Abella said.
The World War II-vintage Rajah Humabon will lead the Russian Admiral Tributs warship during the passex.
Lincuna said the passex would not be the first though for the Russian Navy warships.
“The first was in 2012, then in 2016. The third will be on January 7,” Lincuna said.
The visiting Russian warships arrived recently for supply replenishment, maintenance, rest and recreation and humanitarian activities.
Lincuna said the passex will take about an hour and 30 minutes somewhere on Manila Bay.
“During the passex there will be voice contact through radio, then afterwards our navy will bid farewell to the Russian warships,” he said.
The Russian Navy visited the country as President Rodrigo Duterte is slowly veering away from its military dependence on the Unites States.
Duterte is even exploring buying modern military equipment and arms from Russia and China despite Manila and Beijing’s dispute in the West Philippine Sea.