By Azer Parrocha
Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin (File photo)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – The Philippines can expect more Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine doses in the coming months after Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to increase the volume of deliveries.
According to a statement from the Office of the President (OP), Putin made this commitment in a telesummit with President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday.
“President Putin said that Russia will increase the volume of deliveries of Sputnik V vaccines to the Philippines,” the OP statement read.
Duterte, for his part, thanked Putin for making Sputnik V available to the Philippines and reiterated the importance of the expeditious delivery of ordered vaccines.
On May 30, the Philippines received 50,000 more doses of the Sputnik V vaccines.
The country has so far received a total of 80,000 Sputnik V doses, including the latest shipment. The first two batches composed of 15,000 doses each arrived on May 1 and May 12.
Sputnik V is the second government-procured vaccines that have been delivered to the country after China’s Sinovac-CoronaVac.
In the same telesummit, Duterte and Putin shared a commitment to further enhance bilateral ties on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the Russian Federation.
“The Philippines and Russia have indeed a lot to celebrate. Our cooperation continues to strengthen and gain new momentum,” Duterte was quoted as saying.
Over the last five years, more than 30 agreements have been concluded and key bilateral mechanisms established.
Duterte expressed confidence that the Philippines will “sustain the current upward trajectory” of the relations by deepening partnership, especially in trade and investment, defense, energy, space, and people-to-people exchanges.
He noted positive developments in the procurement of 16 heavy-lift helicopters, adding that the Philippines looks forward to cooperating with Russia to speed up the modernization of defense assets and systems.
Duterte also stressed the need to improve market access of Philippine products to Russia, stating that local companies are ready to export more products to Moscow while noting that the Philippines has preferential access to global markets.
He conveyed appreciation to the Russian government for the warm hospitality extended to more than 10,000 Filipinos in Russia.
Putin, for his part, described the Philippines as a “key partner” in Southeast Asia with Russia and the Philippines sharing similar positions on many regional and international issues allowing for tighter cooperation in key multilateral platforms in the future.
He highlighted Russia’s readiness to further enhance bilateral engagement in various areas, including Covid-19 vaccine access, trade and investments, energy, infrastructure development, defense, and military-technical cooperation.
Putin said Russia is also ready to import more Philippine agricultural products, support transportation infrastructure projects, help build the country’s renewable energy facilities, and supply military equipment.
He also conveyed appreciation for Duterte’s personal contribution to the growth of bilateral relations.
In a telephone conversation n April 13, Duterte and Putin also reiterated their pledge to cooperate in the fight against Covid-19.
The Philippines established diplomatic relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics through a Joint Communiqué signed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos and Supreme Soviet Presidium President Nikolai Podgorny on June 2, 1976.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 26 December 1991, the obligations arising from bilateral agreements were assumed by the Russian Federation which the Philippines formally recognized on December 28, 1991. (PNA)