25 May 2017

President Duterte arrives from Russia; says official visit was ‘productive’
Moscow, Russia — President Rodrigo Duterte said his official visit to Moscow in Russia has been very productive, despite having to cut short his trip.

He expressed gratitude to the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin, for the splendid welcome and their desire to help.

He said Putin was very accommodating, very liberal and very sympathetic. “

The President upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on Wednesday, May 24, said that the Russian leader also conveyed his “condolences, his grief for those who have died”.

Duterte was originally scheduled to meet Putin on May 25 but the Marawi incident forced him to shorten his stay.

Putin was not in Moscow when Duterte decided to fly home but the Russian leader readily returned to Moscow to meet Duterte.

“Russia is a true friend. While I have to immediately return to the Philippines, I have instructed the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (SFA) to remain,” he said, referring to Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

According to the President, Cayetano will meet with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss how to strengthen bilateral relations and to sign some agreements that have been already concluded.

Meanwhile, President Duterte has made the assurance that there will be no abuses of any kind amid the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, also pledging that the government will be harsh in enforcing the law.

“There will be no abuses done at all. Everything in government functions,” Duterte said.

The Chief Executive cut short his supposedly four-day official visit in Russia following the violence happening in Marawi City.
He declared martial law in the Mindanao group of islands.

“I am not willing to allow abuses. Government is still running. Congress is functioning. The courts are open for citizens to seek their grievance,” he said.

The President noted that martial law is not intended for the law-abiding citizens. “We are the least of your worry,” he said.

Duterte also appealed to the public not to allow the ISIS to come in. “I warn you again: Do not do it because as I have said my response would be harsh,” he said.

He said he will not hesitate to do anything and everything to protect and preserve the Filipino nation.

According to the President, the martial law may be expanded to include Visayas.

“And because of the many islands, they can always escape there and begin another terroristic activity,” he said.

In addition, the President said he has ordered the military, specially the Navy to embargo the islands, specially the sea that separates Mindanao from the Visayas.

President Duterte said that his administration will likewise take no shortcuts in making sure the terrorist groups are subdued.  “It would take me maybe 60 days, 15 days but you can be very sure that the response of government will be not only equal but commensurate to the resistance of the law,” he said.###PND

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the Duterte administration +66 SWS rating
Public appreciation on the Duterte administration continues to grow as its March 2017 rating shows a 5-point increase at +66 compared from +61 in December 2016.

This “very good” net satisfaction rating in the First Quarter 2017 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey is reflected in Classes ABC, D and E and across all geographic areas, except in Mindanao, which gave the current government an “excellent” rating.

We believe that the significant gains of the Duterte administration have started to be felt by our people as they rated the government “very good” in the area of helping the poor and “good” in the following areas, namely, fighting terrorism, defending the country’s territorial rights, providing jobs, fighting crimes, eradicating graft and corruption, solving the problem of extra judicial killings, reconciliation with Muslim rebels, and reconciliation with communist rebels.

President Duterte continues to work hard for a progressive and inclusive nation where there is a trustworthy government, long-lasting peace and prosperity for all.

Bilateral agreements signed in Russia
MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Several agreements enhancing the relations between the Philippines and the Russian Federation were signed Wednesday night, May 24, in a press conference attended by Cabinet secretaries led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

Agreements related to tourism, agriculture, defense cooperation, trade and industry, foreign affairs, transportation, and culture and the arts pushed through even without Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who had to rush home following the outbreak of violence in Marawi City involving the Maute group that raised the ISIS flag.

“In fact, I think we covered everything that should have been covered in their bilateral meeting plus other matters that came up because of the terror threats not only in the Philippines or the threat of terrorism but also because of the extensive experience, expertise and knowledge and best practices of the Russian Federation in dealing with ISIS and terrorism,” Cayetano said.

Joining him in the press conference were Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, and Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña of the Department of Science and Technology, each of whom had been instructed by President Duterte to stay behind and sign the agreements.

Facilitating the press conference was Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos D. Sorreta, who read one by one the agreements signed by the department secretaries.

Teo was the first to sign the Joint Action Program for the period 2017-2019 to promote tourism and exhange of best practices between the two countries, noting that he Philippines targets to attract part of the three million Russian tourists who travel to Southeast Asia every year.

Next was Piñol who signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Agriculture to bring about food security in the Philippines through cooperation and through research in agriculture and fisheries, livestock breeding, processing, and transportation and storage of agriculture and fishery products and other agricultural products.

Third to sign was Cayetano himself who represented the Philippines in the defense cooperation to expand exchanges in terms of training, seminars and best practices between the two countries, with the end to develop relations in the field of military education, including military medicine, military history, sports, and culture as well as experiences in consultation, observer participation in military training exercises, and military port calls.

In his capacity as Foreign Affairs Secretary granted plenary powers and plenipotentiary powers to sign any agreement, Cayetano also signed two more agreements namely the Agreement on Cooperation on Transportation between the Department of Transportation and Russia’s Ministry of Transportation; and the Protocol on Cooperation between the National Commission for Culture and the Arts of the Philippines and Russia’s Ministry of Culture.

The first is an endeavor to exchange technology and best practices in transportation, with the Russian Federation rendering support and technical assistance through exchange of experience and knowledge in transport area, as well as cooperation in the framework of research projects and educational visits. The second intends to promote participation in international film and art festivals held in each other’s countries, as well as exchange of music, circus, dance and theater groups or individual artist “to build closer ties in the area of culture and history.”

Lopez, who is scheduled to represent the Philippines in the business fora, signed two agreements namely the Memorandum of Intent between the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines and the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia to foster mutually beneficial trade and investment cooperation between the two countries, and the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Industry Development related to the products and technologies intended to strengthen the industries of both countries.

The last agreement was signed by Dela Peña in the form of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Science and Technology of the Philippines and the State Atomic Energy Corporation, otherwise known as ROSATOM on Cooperation on the Use of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes.

“The general purpose of this agreement is to develop cooperation in the area of peaceful use of atomic energy in accordance with domestic laws, rules and regulations and, of course, international agreements that govern the peaceful use of atomic energy,” Sorreta said.

Cayetano thanked the Russian Federation, particularly President Vladimir Putin “for his understanding of the situation in the Philippines and the necessity of President Duterte to return home and cut short his trip.”

The Russian President flew back to Moscow and met with President Duterte personally for a meeting that lasted for about an hour and a half, following the latter’s decision to cut short his official visit to Russia. ### PND