President Rodrigo Duterte won’t bring his partner Honeylet Avancena and other family members during his trip to Sochi and Moscow Russia from October 1 to 5.
In a pre-departure briefing at Malacañang on Friday, Chief Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje said: “At this point, none (of the family members, including Honeylet, are part of the delegation).
Borje said based on the official delegation being finalized by the Depart of Foreign Affairs, only Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, Trade Secretary Mon Lopez, and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana have been confirmed.
“Depending on the agreements that will be signed, the corresponding secretary whose — who handles that portfolio will also be included in the delegation,” said Borje.
Borje said a “significant number of Filipino businessmen” would join the trip for the Philippines-Russia Business Forum. Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Amelita Aquino said Duterte was invited by the Valdai Discussion Club to participate in the forum, the first Philippine president given this privilege by the Russian think-tank.
“The Valdai Discussion Club is one of the most prominent think tanks and international discussion club in Russia and they have invited several guests from different countries,” Aquino said.
Based on the forum’s theme – “The World Order Seen From the East” – Borje said would “give his perspective or vision of the world order as it is emerging right now and how this relates to Philippine foreign policy.”
“We can surmise that he could include in his statement an explanation of his independent foreign policy…Since he will be talking to a specific group, particularly intellectuals, academicians, journalists from Russia, then he’s expected to also provide an overview of how important Philippines-Russia relations are at this point,” he said. Duterte will also give a brief lecture at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, one of the most prestigious and leading institutions in Russia in the area of diplomacy and international affairs.
This will be Duterte’s fourth meeting with his “favorite hero” Putin: first in November 2016 during the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Peru; second during Duterte’s visit to Russia in May 2017; and third during the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Vietnam in November 2017.