MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY –Russia wants to strengthen “Smart Cities” cooperation with the Philippines, identifying major cities like Manila, Cebu, Tagbilaran, Cagayan de Oro and Davao with Russian city Vladivostok focusing on tourism, energy and digital technology, Russian Federation Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Marat Ignatyevich Pavlov bared this in a media huddle on April 12 at Casino Espanol.
Pavlov revealed that there are ongoing talks and discussions on economic and cultural cooperation with Cebu City and the mayors of Tagbilaran and Panglao in Bohol to increase interaction among them and discuss cooperation on nuclear energy program, development and investments in Bohol and in the Philippines in general.
Pavlov said, energy is a continuing problem in the Philippines and one of the areas of cooperation and investment is the peaceful use of nuclear energy and digital technology. These subjects are high on Russia’s agenda but the success of cooperation depends on the Philippines, which provinces want to join the cooperation.
“The result of the negotiation process and the financing of the programs as well as the state of cooperation is depending on the discussions on the many aspects in tourism, energy and digitalization but Russia is pushing its side to pursue all possible ways to push for the “floating” energy project with the Philippines,” Pavlov said.
He added that there is a continuing good relation with the country’s current president recalling that Russian president Vladimir Putin and Duterte had very good relations, he visited Russia twice and there were several economic agreements during the Duterte administration.
Pavlov went on that the present Philippine president wants to conduct a balance policy and pragmatic cooperation in nuclear energy and other energy resources, including the fertilizer issue and other agricultural programs which is the focus of the Marcos administration.
“There are ongoing talks now on how to reach an acceptable compromise and agreements on those areas. We also see people to people connection, which is the most important in the bilateral relations with both countries. We want to strengthen City cooperation between Vladivostok and Cebu City,” he added.
Russia and the Philippines signed various agreements and these are tackled during the economic forum in September where Rama and a Philippine economic team are invited to attend to start the simple good opportunity to finalize both countries’ agreements on various economic development of the energy program.
According to Pavlov, one of the most important issue now in the Philippines is the refinery plants as one or possible investments from the Russian side to keep the Philippine economy more vibrant because liquid natural gas (LNG) processing is another direction of discussion and agreements as investment partners.
Another area of cooperation is the partnerships with other Asian countries in the construction of railways; tentative discussions on house buildings; open windows of cooperation on technology and digitization projects that are similar to “Smart Cities” where many areas of cooperation are involved with the proposed projects of inter-regional cooperation.
Pavlov also shared with the media that the cooperation in culture, entertainment, music, theatre and the arts, promoting Russian culture in the Philippines are noteworthy as Russia starts organizing its 70th anniversary as a nation and celebrating the Russian diaspora in the country as well.