Russia eyes investments in Philippines

RUSSIAN companies are looking at investing in Philippine oil exploration and the construction of traditional and nuclear power plants, its ambassador said on Tuesday.

Companies in the former Soviet Union are looking at the use of nuclear energy for “peaceful purposes” such as in fighting cancer and extending the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables, Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Marat Pavlov told an online news briefing.

Russia would not  interfere in Philippine internal affairs, while pursuing a “mutually beneficial partnership,” he told the briefing in celebration of the 45th anniversary of Philippine-Russian diplomatic ties.

“We appreciate the atmosphere of trust,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov told the briefing, adding that he expects Russian tourist traffic to the Philippines to reach a record once the coronavirus pandemic ends.

He said fast-tracking Philippine bureaucratic procedures in agriculture would increase bilateral trade.

The two countries were also discussing military procurement Mr. Morgulov said, adding that “Russia does not impose political conditionalities.”

Meanwhile, he said Russia’s shipment of its Sputnik V vaccines to the Philippines “will be gradually increased monthly to 20 million doses by the end of the year.” 

Philippine Trade Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty said there are opportunities for cooperation in pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, information and communications technology and infrastructure.

He added that stronger Russian presence in the Philippines could pave the way for a stronger partnership between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Eurasian Economic Union. 

Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos D. Sorreta said the Philippines and Russia are discussing opening more opportunities for migrant Filipino workers in Russia, which needs more skilled workers.

The two governments are also in talks to set up safeguards to protect Filipinos there, he said. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago