Solidarity in the time of COVID-19 -- MS Supplement

Breaking bread with Russia

"The recent trip opened up opportunities for investments which, when tapped, will definitely contribute to our economic growth."


Last week, I joined the contingent of government officials who went on an official visit to Russia. Moscow is a beautiful place, rich in culture and history. After all, it is said that the weather of a country is similar to the demeanor of its people. The same can’t be more untrue about Russia. Russians, to my experience, are not cold and aloof, quite the opposite in fact. Pleasantly surprising to me was the warm and kind reception of the people we met. During a random stroll down the street, people would greet us with sincere hospitality.

I was privileged to have met several officials from the government of Russia as well as ordinary Russian citizens. Russians are actually friendly, hospitable, and respectful. I noticed that the President Putin and President Duterte were quite friendly during a dinner.

Their good nature has been validated by the Filipino residents and workers who are married to Russians. I have spoken to a few Filipinos and they are happy and satisfied where they are. The Russian government has assured us that the welfare of our overseas Filipino workers are protected.

The recent trip to Russia opened up opportunities for investments which, when tapped, will definitely contribute to our economic growth. In fact, the President came home with 10 agreements with the Russian government and business groups. Some of these agreements involve information exchange and collaboration on business development aimed at promoting trade and investment between the Philippines and Russia, exploring the potential of tapping nuclear power in the Philippines, and distribution and trade of agricultural products.

The President has reported that he has $620 million worth of business from his recent trip. He was also able to pitch infrastructure investments in our country.

Definitely, our nations can benefit from maintaining good relations with Russia. This would have been unthinkable, during the period of the Cold War. The USSR, as it was then called, was perceived as an enemy of democracy. Economic relations with them, at that time, would not have been possible. I am fortunate to have witnessed that coldness thaw.

It is a welcome development in our world’s history that we can determine our country’s relations not as dictated by the past, but by present realities. After all, we have much to learn from Russia. They have a strong economy, are forward thinking, and use advanced technologies. As a nation, they are proud of their heritage—they preserve their cultures and observe their traditions. Russia is also resilient, and has survived serious challenges to their nation.

This was the President’s second trip to Russia. The seeds planted from his first trip bore fruit to greater relations and more developmental oriented discussions with the Russian government. With this, we can look forward to a relationship that is more evolved, politically mature and mutually beneficial.

Topics: Russia , Rodrigo Duterte , Vladimir Putin , Economy
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