Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Philippines to QNA: HH the Amir’s Visit Serves As Platform For Leaders to Discuss Mutual Interests

Doha: HE Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines Enrique Manalo said that the visit of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to Manila will serve as a platform for the leaders to discuss matters of mutual interest, as well as ways of increasing political and economic cooperation.

In an interview with Qatar News Agency , His Excellency said, “this is an opportune time to engage in meaningful conversations, noting that we will be celebrating the 43rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries next month in May.” He added that, “the Philippines and the State of Qatar have enjoyed more than four decades of cordial bilateral relations. I am optimistic that the friendship between our two countries will reach new heights in the years to come.” “While a long tradition of people-to-people exchanges serve as the backbone of Philippine-Qatari relations, we also wish to increase investment and boost economic cooperation,” His Excellency explained.

He poi
nted out that the Philippines introduced reforms that simplified investment requirements and processes, and expressed hope that more Qatari businesses will participate in sectors that have been previously closed to foreign investors.

The Philippines looks forward to collaborating with Qatar in both traditional and non-traditional areas, he said, adding that “while labor relations remain to be a vital pillar, we aspire to broaden our partnership in other fields, such as renewable energy, tourism, and development of the Philippines’ halal industry.

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines stressed that they also seek enhance cooperation with Qatar in regional and multilateral spaces, on issues of mutual concern.

He touched upon the role of the Filipino community in Doha in strengthening the ties between Qatar and the Philippines, noting that there are approximately 260,000 Filipinos consider the State of Qatar their second home.

“We are proud of their achievements and their contri
butions to both our economies. Their welfare remains a top priority,” he said, acknowledging Qatar’s supports towards initiatives meant to ensure the well-being of overseas workers.

He added, “our countries’ labor relations are premised on trust. At both the official and popular levels, shared values enable stakeholders to effectively engage with each other, guided by mutual confidence and respect.” He appreciated all efforts that help safeguard the rights of overseas Filipino workers, pointing out that his country is in close coordination with the Qatar government in this regard.

His Excellency stated, “we are hopeful that reforms across the region continue to evolve to encompass the more vulnerable sectors of the labor market. We welcome initiatives that contribute to enhancing labor mobility.” HE Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines also commended the State of Qatar’s mediation efforts amidst the dispute in the Middle East. “We acknowledge the country’s crucial role in working
towards the cessation of hostilities, and in the continuing search for lasting peace in the region,” he said, adding that the Philippines yearns for a Middle East where peoples who have lived in insecurity for several generations will finally be able to live together in peace and stability.” He welcomed Qatar’s signing of the instrument of accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), which is a foundational document of ASEAN, adding that Qatar’s accession to TAC is a manifestation of their commitment to contribute to the maintenance of peace, security, and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

On relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council, His Excellency emphasized the importance of the relations between his country and Gulf countries, saying, “approximately two million Filipinos consider the Gulf their home away from home. This number speaks volumes about the importance of the GCC to the Philippines.” “Amidst the ongoing economic diversification within the GCC, we reaffirm our commitment to enga
ge cooperatively in the economic, labor, and socio-cultural sectors,” he said.

HE Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines Enrique Manalo concluded his statements to QNA by stressing that he is positive that “Philippines and the GCC countries can work together in mapping out ways on how our sovereign wealth funds can become more beneficial for our nations and peoples.”

Source: Qatar News Agency