Marcos Jr. meets Qatar Emir; 9 cooperation deals inked

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos Jr. meets Qatar Emir; 9 cooperation deals inked
President Marcos and First Lady Liza Marcos pose with visiting Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at Malacañang yesterday.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines —  The Philippines and Qatar have signed nine cooperation agreements in areas that include climate change mitigation, anti-human trafficking, seafarers’ welfare and trade – a development seen to further enhance ties between the two countries.

The agreements were presented after a bilateral meeting between President Marcos and visiting Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani yesterday at Malacañang.

One of the agreements was a memorandum of understanding on technical cooperation on capacity building on climate change.

Signed by the Philippines’ Climate Change Commission and Qatar’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the MOU seeks to strengthen bilateral collaboration in pursuing technical cooperation and capacity building, enhance knowledge sharing, and promote transformative climate action in line with the action goals under the 2016 Paris Agreement.

Also signed was an MOU to strengthen ties and enhance bilateral cooperation in combating human trafficking, which allows both countries to work together to fight human trafficking and advance labor protection in both countries through the exchange of expertise in the field of legislation and exchange of studies and research.

Manila and Doha also inked an MOU on the mutual recognition of seafarers’ certificates to implement the provisions stipulated in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention) of 1978 and its amendments. The MOU refers to Circular No. 1450 issued by the Maritime Safety Committee on Jan. 24, 2013 on the mutual recognition of certificates according to regulation I/10 of the STCW Convention.

The agreement, signed by the Philippines’ Maritime Industry Authority and Qatar’s Ministry of Transport, shall apply to the certificates of seafarers who serve on registered merchant ships of any of the participants and sail under its flag, except for those who serve on the ships mentioned in Article 3 of the STCW Convention.

The two countries also signed an agreement in the field of tourism and business events, which allows Manila and Doha to develop and strengthen their cooperation on tourism and business events on the basis of mutual benefits according to applicable rules and regulations and relevant international obligations.

The agreement pushes for cooperation in encouraging tourist flows to both countries and promoting cooperation between travel and tourism agencies and other relevant establishments to increase tourist exchange.

Marcos and Sheikh Tamim also witnessed the signing of an MOU that aims to promote cooperation and facilitate communication between the sports federations of their countries and to set the framework for cooperation programs in sports based on the principle of reciprocity.

Another MOU seeks to facilitate communication between youth organizations in Manila and Doha and to set the framework for cooperation programs. The countries are expected to enhance their cooperation on the youth sector through visit exchanges of youth delegations, members of youth centers and specialists and exchange of youth-related experiences and research.

The agreement is expected to pave the way to meetings, conferences, lectures, seminars and academic forums on youth-related topics in both countries, explore opportunities to establish youth camps alternately and exchange research and studies in youth employment and entrepreneurship.

Both the Philippines and Qatar also inked a waiver of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and special or official passports. The deal allows the two countries to facilitate the travel of their nationals who are on official missions for their respective governments while complying with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.

“Nationals of either party who are holders of valid passport types mentioned in Article 1 of this Agreement are exempted from the obligation to obtain visas for entry and stay in the territory of the other party, for a stay of 30 days,” the agreement read.

The Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry also signed separate memoranda of understanding with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

During his bilateral meeting with Sheikh Tamim, Marcos expressed optimism about the prospects of the relationship between the Philippines and Qatar. ?“With the Philippines and Qatar sharing 43 years of deep friendship and cooperation, I am certain that our discussions today will translate to stronger collaboration in common fields of interests,” the President said.?“I look forward to a fruitful and productive meeting with you today, with the hope that our discussion will open opportunities to improve and strengthen our bilateral relations at every level – at the commercial level, at the government-to-government level, at the people-to-people level,” he added.

Sheikh Tamim said the signed agreements would further enhance Qatar’s ties with the Philippines, which he described as “an important partner” in many fields.

“It is my pleasure to take this opportunity to praise the Filipino community residing in the State of Qatar and their effective contribution to the development progress in our country,” the Qatari leader added.

Diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Qatar were estab- lished on May 5, 1981. There are about 242,000 Filipinos in Qatar.

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