Saudi Arabia’s King Salman held wide-ranging talks with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte here on Tuesday. The two leaders oversaw the signing of an agreement on hiring workers, a memorandum for political consultations and a cooperation program.
King Salman and President Duterte reviewed bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries and ways to further promote and strengthen them in various fields. They also discussed the latest developments in regional and international arenas.
Minister of Labor and Social Development Ali Al-Ghafis and Philippine acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo signed an agreement between the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development and Philippines’ Ministry of Labor and Employment in the field of hiring workers.
A memorandum of political consultation between the two foreign ministries and a cooperation agreement between Prince Saud Al-Faisal Diplomatic Studies Institute and the Philippines Foreign Service Institute were signed by Nizar Madani, minister of state for foreign affairs and Enrique Manalo.
Consul General Iric Arribas said the Philippines has been working on cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia on the issues of security, anti-terrorism, and combating transnational crimes. President Duterte will also meet business leaders and the Filipino community, according to Arribas.
This is the first visit by a Philippine president since 2008. The last Philippine president to visit Saudi Arabia, home to nearly a million Filipinos, was Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Duterte’s Gulf tour will also take him to Bahrain and Qatar, home to more than 300,000 Filipino workers.
Gulf-based Filipinos, employed in a wide range of occupations from management to skilled trades and waiting on tables, are among 10 million of their countrymen working overseas. The money they remit is a major pillar of the Philippine economy.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on April 12 , 2017.