Philippine president to sign $650m deals with Gulf nations

Rodrigo Duterte will visit Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar
Philippine president to sign $650m deals with Gulf nations
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. (WALLACE WOON/AFP/Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Mon 10 Apr 2017 10:57 AM

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will sign investment deals worth $650 million during his seven-day tour of the region that will take in three Gulf nations.

The president will visit Saudi Arabia from April 10-12, followed by Bahrain on April 12-14, and Qatar on April 14-16, according to local media reports.

During the official tour, Duterte is expected to meet with Saudi King Salman, Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

An estimated 760,000, 250,000 and 60,000 Filipinos work and live in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, respectively.

According to Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) Director General Charito B Plaza, Middle East investors are eager to increase their presence in the Philippines and have committed an investment of $650m.

“These are 18 projects all in all, 10 from Qatar, one from the UAE and seven from Saudi Arabia,” Plaza said.

Saudi companies will invest $465m and create employment for 15,770 workers. Investors from Qatar will spend $176 million and generate 4,000 jobs, while UAE’s single project, worth $10m, in the agro-industrial zone is projected to create 1,000 local jobs, media reports said.

Separately, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Hjayceelyn Quintana said the president was expecting to forge stronger partnerships with the Gulf countries during his trip and tap into the over $500 billion combined investment capital of three Gulf states to bring home more investments and create jobs.

In terms of remittances, $7.6 billion were remitted from the Middle East last year with the region remaining a top destination of choice for overseas Filipino workers.

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