PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has confirmed the date of his much-anticipated visit to Russia this year.
In a speech in Cebu City Thursday night, Duterte said he would fly to Russia on May 25 with Maj. Gen. Oscar Lactao, Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command chief.
“Russia said, ‘We will have everything you need, just come here.’ So I’m going there with Lactao, May 25,” the President said.
Duterte also said, in jest, that he was looking forward to meeting Russian women. “The Russians are beautiful. That’s what you go there for. And then I talk to Putin,” he said.
Duterte said he would have a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a leader he had described as his “idol.”
The President met Putin for the first time in November last year during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Lima, Peru.
Last December, Duterte sent Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. to Moscow to finalize details of his visit.
Government-to-government deals, mostly on military cooperation and economic partnership, are expected to be signed during the visit.
Duterte wants to rebalance Philippine foreign relations away from Washington and toward other global powers like Moscow and Beijing.