President Rodrigo R. Duterte of the Philippines is set to come to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia next year. This based on the information gathered from the Philippine Embassy.
“President Duterte is expected to meet with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman,” Charge d’Affaires Iric C. Arribas confirmed to Arab News, a news publishing company in the Kingdom.
Arribas added, “The Filipino community will be informed accordingly regarding the visit so that they could meet and welcome their president.”
Plans are underway to facilitate the visit and the embassy is working with the Saudi officials to set the specific dates for the visit. This will be the first time for President Rodrigo R. Duterte to visit Saudi, since winning the presidential elections in May 2016. A number of cabinet members will accompany the president during his visit, including Perfecto “Jun” R. Yasay, Jr, Foreign Secretary.
Currently, there are 872,000 Filipino workers in Saudi and half of this population is in Riyadh. The other half is spread across the eastern and western regions.
Duterte is a popular figure in the Philippines and other countries like Saudi Arabia, he commands a good following. In the concluded elections, mid this year, he garnered a good number of votes.
According to Arribas, one of the key agendas on Duterte’s visit is to initiate talks with Saudi for bilateral collaborations in a number of sectors like agriculture, travel and tourism, culture, labour, trade and investment.
There has been an increase in the number of Saudi tourists to the Philippines. 2015 recorded 50,884, which is an increase from the 27,945 tourists in 2011. In terms of trade, Saudi Arabia was among the top 10 partners of the Philippines in 2012.
It also provides a great platform for the export of Filipino services. As far as culture goes, there are thousands of Filipinos who come to the Kingdom, every year for Hajj or Umrah.
Source: Arab News