MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. went aboard one of the three Russian warships docked in Manila for a five-day goodwill visit.
Madrigal conducted a shipboard tour on guided missile cruiser Varyag, the Armed Forces said Monday.
The Admiral Varyag, along with large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleev and large sea tanker Boris Botuma arrived at the port of Manila on Sunday.
Russian Ambassador to Manila Igor Khovaev, along with Russian Navy contingent head Rear Adm. Edward Mikhaolov and the commanding officers of the three warships, welcomed Madrigal and Philippine Navy officer-in-command Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad.
“The goodwill visit of the Russian Navy aims to strengthen the relationship of the two navies. It will also engance the maritime cooperation and ensure the peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region and in the two countries through naval diplomacy,” the Armed Forces said in a statement.
The latest visit of the Russian Pacific Fleet detachment to Manila is the first this year and seventh since 2012.
Both the Admiral Varyag and Boris Botuma visited the Philippines in May last year while this would be the first time of Admiral Pantaleev in the country.
In October 2018, the Philippine Navy’s strategic sealift vessel BRP Tarlac made a port call to Vladivostok, Russia. This was to reciprocate the previous port calls of its Russian counterparts.
The Philippine Navy contingent was able to go inside a Russian submarine during their visit last year. The Philippine government has been scouting defense items in line with the Armed Forces modernization program.
Moscow had expressed its willingness to supply Manila with needed military equipment and even offered a soft loan for the latter’s planned submarine procurement.