Econ, political cooperation on top of Duterte’s agenda in Middle East

Apr. 07, 2017

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Economic and political cooperation, and the situation of the Overseas Filipino workers are among the issues that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will discuss with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar during his week-long state visit next week.

In a televised press conference at Malacañang on Friday, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Hjayceelyn Quintana said that Duterte will embark on a State Visit to the Middle East on April 10 to 16.

His visit aims to invite investors to the Philippines and to forge stronger trade partnerships, s he said.

In Saudi Arabia, there are 760,000 Filipinos, in Bahrain, 60,000 Filipinos and in Qatar, there are about 250,000 Filipinos.  The President is also expected to meet with the Filipino communities in Riyadh, Manama and Doha during his visit to the Middle East.

Quintana saidDuterte is eyeing to “tap into the over $500 billion combined investment capital of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and State of Qatar” and bring home more investment and jobs.

“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,” she said, adding that the President is planning to invite the three countries to invest in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao.

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

He will then go to Bahrain on April 12 to 14, to meet King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Manama and on April 14 to 16, Duterte will end his official visit in Middle East with a trip to Qatar, where he is expected to meet Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha. (

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