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Dagupan mayor joins President Duterte’s trip to Russia

DAGUPAN CITY — The chief executive of this north Luzon city is joining President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in his official trip to Russia.

Mayor Marc Brian Lim of Dagupan City was informed of his inclusion in the official delegation last September through a call from Malacanang.

The Presidential Protocol sent him a letter that day confirming his inclusion in the Philippine delegation.

“This is my first time to join a Presidential trip. Naimbitahan tayo ng ating mahal na Pangulo at sasama tayo para ipakita ang suporta at gagawin natin ang mga ipag-uutos para sa ikabubuti ng ating bansa (We were invited by our beloved President and we will go with him to show our support and we will abide with whatever order we will receive for the good of our country),” Lim told reporters in Pangasinan on Monday.

Lim said the Presidential visit to Russia from October 1 to 5 is the continuation of the President’s visit in May 2017, which was cut short because of the conflict in Marawi City.

Aside from bilateral talks between President Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Lim said their visit will culminate with an audience with the Filipino community in Moscow.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said ties between the Philippines and Russia are expected to improve after the President’s visit.

“When you visit a country other than yours, it means you are trying to improve the relations, right? It could mean further improved relations between the two countries,” Panelo said in a media interview.

In a report from the Presidential Communications Operations office (PCOO), Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Amelita Aquino said President Duterte and President Putin will witness the exchange of several bilateral agreements that cover cooperation on culture, health, and basic research.

“The highlight of the trip will be the President’s bilateral meeting with President Putin where they will discuss the state of our bilateral relations and how both sides can further enhance and expand our cooperation in various areas,” Aquino told reporters.

This will be the fourth meeting of the two Presidents.

They first met in November 2016 on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Peru. After President Duterte’s visit to Russia in May 2017, they met again in November 2017 on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, the PCOO report said.