Russia and the Philippines established diplomatic relations on June 2, 1976 and opened their respective embassies in 1977.
The two countries maintain dialogue at the top and high levels. President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal Arroyo made an official visit to Russia in June 2009.
In November 2015, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held talks with President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Manila.
In September 2016, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held talks with President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte at the East Asia Summit in Vientiane.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin met with the Philippine leader on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Lima in November 2016, during the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on May 14, 2017, and during the official visit of President Duterte to Russia on May 23, 2017.
Following the Philippine President’s visit to Russia in May 2017, the two countries signed a package of documents, including an agreement on defence cooperation; interdepartmental memoranda on cooperation in nuclear energy, trade and investment, industry, energy, agriculture, transportation, tourism and culture; a plan of consultations between their foreign ministries for 2017-2019, as well as a number of corporate documents.
The foreign ministries of Russia and the Philippines maintain regular contact. In October 2005, Foreign Secretary of the Philippines Alberto Romulo made a working visit to Russia. In August 2007, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was in the Philippines on an official visit, which he combined with participation in ASEAN events in Manila. In March 2012, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario visited Russia. In August 2015 and in 2017, the foreign ministers of Russia and the Philippines met in Kuala Lumpur and Manila during ASEAN ministerial meetings.
In December 2016, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay was in Moscow on a working visit. On May 25, 2017, Sergey Lavrov held talks with his Philippine counterpart, Alan Peter Cayetano.
The ties between the parliaments of Russia and the Philippines are expanding. In November 2014, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko made an official visit to Manila. In October 2015, Senate President Franklin Drilon visited Russia. The two parliaments have signed an updated agreement on cooperation between their upper houses.
In February 2017, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee and Eurasian Dialogue Coordinator Andrey Klimov made a working visit to the Philippines.
In April 2016, Deputy Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives Giorgidi Aggabao attended the first Meeting of Speakers of Eurasian Countries' Parliaments (MSEAP) in Moscow.
The Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippine Congress have Philippine -Russian Friendship Groups.
Economic cooperation between Russia and the Philippines is coordinated by the Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation, which is co-chaired by Deputy Minister of Economic Development Alexander Tsybulsky (Russia) and Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo (the Philippines). The first meeting of the Joint Commission was held in Manila on April 28, 2017.
According to the Federal Customs Service of Russia, Russian-Philippine trade amounted to $439.9 million in 2016, a decrease of 25.1 percent from 2015. Russian exports to the Philippines plunged by 54.6 percent to $145.8 million, while Philippine exports to Russia increased by 10.5 percent and reached $294.1 million. Between January and May 2017, bilateral trade equalled $172.8 million, up 23.2 percent from the same period in 2016. Russian exports fell by 31.8 percent to $36.4 million, while imports from the Philippines grew by 57 per cent to $136.4 million.
Russia exports mineral fuel, oil and petrochemicals (63.1 percent of the total), timber and pulp and paper products (15.65 percent), metals and metalware (3 percent), chemical goods and rubber (3.3 percent) to the Philippines. Imports comprise machines, equipment and motor vehicles (80 percent), foodstuffs and agricultural raw materials (9.4 percent), textiles and footwear (4.4 percent), chemical goods and rubber (3.3 percent).
Russia-Philippines business forums were held in Moscow and St Petersburg in May 2017 in order to stimulate direct ties between our companies in the context of President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit.
In May 2016, Secretary of Science and Technology Mario Montejo, who led the Philippines delegation at the ASEAN-Russia Commemorative Summit in Sochi, met with senior officials from the Russian Ministry of Education and Science and the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow to outline promising areas of scientific and research cooperation.
In April 2016, Agriculture Undersecretary Dennis Guerrero was in Moscow for talks with Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergey Levin and Deputy Head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision Yevgeny Nepoklonov.
In December 2015, Chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Felipe de Leon attended the Fourth St Petersburg International Cultural Forum, on the sidelines of which he met with Russian Deputy Culture Minister Alla Manilova.
In January 2015, Head of the Parnas Municipality (St Petersburg) Alexey Cherezov visited the City of Dipolog in the Philippine province of Zamboanga del Norte, during which he signed an agreement on the establishment of sister relations.
In September and October 2015, Governor of Cebu Hilario Perez Davide III visited St Petersburg and Moscow. In March 2017, St Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko met with delegates from the Philippine ministries of agriculture, industry and trade.
Russia and the Philippines are also developing ties in education. In November 2015, Russia’s Far Eastern Federal University and the University of the Philippines signed an agreement on research cooperation and academic exchanges on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Manila.
The two countries also maintain sports contacts. In 2016, 29 Russian athletes took part in international competitions that were held in the Philippines. We are analysing the possibility of holding a friendly game between Russian and Philippine chess masters in the City of Baguio in 2018 to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1978 World Championship chess tournament between Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi. Anatoly Karpov may travel to the Philippines for the occasion.
Regarding our cultural ties, Russian Culture Days were held in Manila on October 19-24, 2016 and a festival of Philippine culture was held in Moscow as part of celebrations of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and the Philippines. Philippine Culture Days will be held in Russia on September 26-30, 2017.
Tourism is a promising area of cooperation. In 2006, we signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in tourism. In January 2016, Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) Roman Skory and Philippine Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez met in Manila on the sidelines of the ASEAN-Russia consultations on tourism.
In 2013, the Philippines waived visa requirements for Russians who intend to stay in the country for up to 30 days.
In 2016, more than 28,000 Russians visited the Philippines, whereas the number of Philippine tourists in Russia increased only slightly, to some 7,000 or by 15 percent, compared with 2015.
Cebu City maintains twin city relations with St Petersburg and Vladimir.