Manila and Moscow seem to be one step closer to forging an agreement that will contribute to the protection of the rights and welfare of Filipinos in Russia.
The agreement would also help protect the rights and welfare of Russians in the Philippines.
Carlos Sorreta, Philippine ambassador to the Russian Federation, met with Evgeny Ivanov, director of the Consular Services Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, early this month and agreed to reinvigorate their efforts to complete a draft agreement that could be signed early this year.
“One of the first things we did after I assumed my post here in Moscow in 2015 was to propose this agreement, given the importance we place on protecting our nationals here in Russia,” Sorreta said.
“This agreement would reinforce our embassy’s ability to help Filipinos in need of assistance here in Russia. With increased protection, it is our hope that people-to-people exchanges will also be enhanced, particularly in the areas of trade, investment, tourism, education and culture,” he added.
Ivanov informed Sorreta that discussions within the Russian government on the agreement are going well and that Russia will be formally responding with its own version shortly.
Both sides agreed that the agreement must expand on existing international conventions on consular relations and will serve as a comprehensive document covering all aspects of consular relations.
The Philippine Embassy in Moscow estimates that there are between 5,000 and 10,000 Filipinos living in Russia while as many as 40,000 Russians visit the Philippines every year. JAIME R. PILAPIL