OUTGOING ENVOY. President Rodrigo Duterte confers the Order of Sikatuna on outgoing Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Philippines Igor Khovaev who paid a farewell call on the President at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on October 14, 2020. In a statement from the Office of the President, Duterte said bilateral engagement has “broadened” and “deepened” during Khovaev’s tenure and since he visited Russia for the first time in May 2017. (Presidential Photo)
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday hailed outgoing Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev on his successful tour of duty, saying the Philippines and Russia were able to “redefine” their relations in line with the administration’s independent foreign policy during his stint.
In a statement from the Office of the President, Duterte said bilateral engagement has “broadened” and “deepened” during Khovaev’s tenure and since he visited Russia for the first time in May 2017.
“Key agreements were signed and consultative mechanisms established, particularly in the areas of defense and security, trade and economic cooperation, science and technology, and health,” the OP said.
Duterte particularly cited Khovaev’s role in facilitating confidence-building activities between Philippine and Russian defense establishments through exchange of goodwill naval visits and training of Philippine law enforcement personnel, among other joint activities.
He identified promising areas of growth, including in trade and investment, defense and security and public health, particularly in the common fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Duterte also conferred on Khovaev the Order of Sikatuna, with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross), Gold Distinction.
Khovaev, meanwhile, reiterated Russia’s commitment to build an enduring partnership with the Philippines over the long term.
He welcomed the upward trajectory of Philippines-Russia cooperation under Duterte’s independent foreign policy.
Khovaev also thanked the President for the positive momentum of Philippines-Russia relations capped by unprecedented multiple meetings between Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia is one of the countries that offered to supply the Philippines with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines and possibly manufacture vaccines in the country.
Developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute, the Russian vaccine is named Sputnik-V, a reference to the surprise 1957 launch of the world’s first satellite by the Soviet Union.
The Philippines will begin Phase 3 of the Russia-funded clinical trials of the Sputnik-V vaccine from October 2020 to March 2021.
Phase 3 of clinical trials will be done in the Philippines simultaneously with Russia after a vaccine expert panel review on the results of clinical trials for Phase 1 and Phase 2 is conducted in September.
Registration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can take place in April 2021. (PNA)