By CHARISSA M. LUCI
December 5, 2009
The Philippine Embassy in Moscow reported to its home office that the ASA was signed on December 1 by Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Doroteo A. Reyes II and Deputy Minister for Transport Valeriy Mikhailovich Okulov.
In a statement, the DFA said the air pact is “set to facilitate and intensify two-way tourism, trade and investment, and cultural exchanges through the opening of direct flights between the Philippines and Russia.”
The new agreement will replace the 1992 RP-Russia ASA. which now allow all Russian carriers limited flight frequencies from any three points in Russia to three points in the Philippines, namely Manila, Clark, and another destination (such as Cebu, Davao, Iloilo) and vice-versa.
Philippine Ambassador to Russia Victor G. Garcia III, who witnessed the signing, described the recently-signed pact as “important vehicle” that will intensify the 32-year old diplomatic relations between the two countries.
During the pre-signing meeting held on Nov. 30, Russian carrier Transaero and the Philippine Airlines discussed the opening of chartered flights between Cebu and Moscow.
“Both sides expressed hope that this exercise will materialize as soon as possible and lead to eventual opening of regular scheduled flights,” the DFA said.
The amended bilateral air services agreement had been endorsed by the government through Tourism Secretary Ace Durano to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in June 2009 at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
“We have intensively campaigned to open the Philippine skies further to address the influx of Russian tourists,” said Durano.During Mrs. Arroyo’s three-day visit to Russia that ended on June 6, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev assured his government’s nod to the signing of the bilateral air services agreement.
The assurance was made during their 45-minute bilateral meeting last June on the sidelines of the 13th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum right after her South Korea visit.