PRBA backs Duterte’s bid to ally with Russia, China

Ehda M. Dagooc (Banat) - September 29, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to forge strong alliances with Russia and China gained support from the Philippine Russia-Business Assembly (PRBA).

"We are going to meet with the PRBA members and stakeholders to assist the Philippine government to move forward," said Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation Armi L. Garcia in an interview.

Garcia said the Russian government is delighted and welcomes the recent pronouncement of the President, adding that Russia is largely an unexplored market for the Philippines, and vice-versa.

PRBA, founded by Garcia, is an organization of Philippine and Russian business people in the Philippines. Its counterpart in Russia is the Russian-Philippines Business Council of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Interest of Russian investors to the Philippines is consistently on a high note Garcia said, mentioning the country's appeal on waste management system, defense or military technology or hardware, as well as tourism.

Garcia said that in her recent conversation with Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev, she learned that the Russian government is happy with the recent development, referring on Duterte's friendly gesture towards Russia.

Last Tuesday, Duterte said he would build by next year “new alliances” with China and Russia to cushion a possible withdrawal of the United States from the Philippines.

“I am asking the Filipinos in the coming days, if America will make good its threat, I’m going to ask you to sacrifice a little bit. But by next year, I would have entered into so many new alliances with so many countries,” the President was quoted in a report.

Among the top interests of the country in Russia include oil and gas, food, agriculture, infrastructure development, telecommunications, tourism, manpower services, and general trade.

According to the Consulate of Russian Federation in the Philippines, bilateral trade between the two countries grew by more than 80 percent in 2010 to exceed US$713 million.

Top Philippine exports to Russia include desiccated coconut, carrageenan, lighters, personal care products, and banana chips.

Both the Philippines and Russia are member economies of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). (FREEMAN)

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