Duterte to raise OFW matters with Middle East leaders

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Duterte to raise OFW matters with Middle East leaders
In this Nov. 22, 2016 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte boards the plane at Jorge Chavez International Airport on November 21 as he heads back to the Philippines following the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit in Peru. The president is scheduled to embark on a state visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the State of Qatar from April 10 to 16.
Presidential Photo / Simeon Celi Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to discuss relevant issues with leaders of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar in his week-long state visit to the Middle East next week.

Among the issues the president will discuss with the Middle East leaders are the welfare and dignity of Filipinos living in their countries, as well as economic and political cooperation.

In his visit to the Middle East from April 10 to 16, Duterte is scheduled to meet with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Manama, Bahrain and Emor Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha, Qatar.

"The president's trip to the Middle East, whose objectives may be summarized by the words people, progress and partnerships aims to strengthen efforts for the protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare of the more than one million of our people working in those three countries," Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Hjayceelyn Quintana said in a televised press conference at Malacañang.

There are about 760,000 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia while there are about 60,000 and 250,000 Filipinos in Bahrain and Qatar, respectively.

Duterte will also meet with the Filipino communities in Riyadh, Manama and Doha during his visit to the Middle East.

Quintana said that the president is hoping to inspire overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in those countries to help him build a more developed and economically vibrant Philippines.

"The president desires that in the not so distant future there will no longer be a reason for Filipinos to leave their families behind in order to make a living," Quintana said.

Investments, partnerships

Duterte is eyeing to tap into the over $500 billion combined investment capital of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar to bring home more investment and jobs for the Filipino people.

In particular, Duterte wants to invite the three countries to invest in Mindanao to lift the region out of poverty and conflict.

"In terms of economic cooperation, the president will explore partnerships in tourism development, Halal food security, Islamic finance and energy security, as well as investments," Quintana said.

Duterte will also seek partnerships on security, countering terrorism and combating illicit drugs in his visit to the Middle East.

"The president will also be witnessing the signing of agreements on labor, agriculture, air services, culture, health and political bilateral consultations," Quintana said.

The president will first visit Saudi Arabia from April 10 to 12. He will then go to Bahrain from April 12 to 14 and will proceed to Qatar from April 14 to 16.

The Middle East is the Philippines' second largest source of remittances with 28 percent or almost $7.5 billion remitted from the region in 2016.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Middle East remains the destination of choice of OFWs.

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with