By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with Russia’s Nikolai Patrushev in Davao City Thursday afternoon, February 16.
Patrushev, the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, is set to make a courtesy call with Duterte in Panacan, Davao City.
In a press briefing in Malacañang, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said there will be no agenda when Duterte and Patrushev meet as it will just be a courtesy call.
Patrushev, a close friend and top advisor of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, served as the director of the Russian Federal Security Service for almost nine years before assuming office as secretary of the Security Council in 2008.
The Security Council of Russian is a consultative body of the President that works out his decisions on national security affairs.
Duterte has previously expressed his desire to improve the country’s relationship with Russia following angry outbursts against the United States.
On December, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow to discuss the bilateral relations and enhance cooperation of the two nations in several areas.
They also agreed to prepare for Duterte’s proposed visit to Russia in April this year.
Last month, President Duterte has expressed his desire for Russian capital Moscow to become the country’s ally and protector as he toured a Russian warship which visited Manila.
A Pulse Asia survey published last month also revealed that more Filipinos are now backing Duterte’s move to strengthen ties with Russia and China.
The Palace said it is happy that more people are now opening their minds but clarified that the country will not just open its doors to anybody and that all things are being considered carefully.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella previously said that Duterte’s move to strengthen ties with Russia and China are due to the changing social and political landscape all across the globe.
“He [the President] took the initiative to be able to open up friendly relations with the bigger powers in the world so that hindi po tayo ma-ano (So that we won’t be left behind),” he said.