Author: Ellie AbenID: 1542225462285268400Wed, 2018-11-14 22:57
MANILA: In line with the efforts to further bolster bilateral ties between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Ambassador to the Philippines, Dr. Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Bussairy, has met with former president and now Speaker of the House of Representatives Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The House Speaker received the Saudi envoy at her office Tuesday afternoon where the meeting lasted about half an hour, according to Arroyos office.
Among the initiatives discussed by Arroyo and Al-Bussairy to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries was the establishment of a Philippine-Saudi Arabian inter-parliamentary friendship association especially in the light of the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to increase trade and other cooperation.
The proposal of establishing an inter-parliamentary friendship association between the two countries was among the issues discussed in the meeting.
“They want to push this initiative because of the BOL. Basically it will center on the development of Mindanao with the help of lawmakers from the Bangsamoro area,” Arroyos office told Arab News.
During the meeting, Al-Bussairy also recalled the state visit made by Arroyo during her presidency to Saudi Arabia back in 2006, in which she sought clemency of hundreds of distressed Filipino workers (OFWs). Then-King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz granted Arroyos requests and pardoned them.
Diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and the Philippines were established in 1969. But the two countries bilateral relations were reinforced further by then-President Arroyos state visit to the Kingdom on May 7-9, 2006.
The Saudi Embassy in Manila also posted on Twitter a statement about the meeting between Arroyo and Al-Bussairy.
“During the meeting, the close relationship between the two friendly countries had been discussed and how to develop it in all fields,” read part of the embassys statement.
“Her Excellency the Speaker expressed her sincere appreciation to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and to the Crown Prince (May Almighty Allah protect them) on their keen concern for the bilateral relations between the two countries,” it added.
Last week, the two countries held their 5th Joint Commission Meeting in Manila to explore possible cooperation in in various areas, including security, trade, investment, energy, education, and tourism.
The two countries reaffirm their commitment to advance bilateral relations. Philippines Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Enrique Manalo and Saudi Arabias Vice Labor Minister Abdullah Nasser Abouthnain led their delegations in the meeting.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), aside from trade and investment and labor and health services, other possible areas of cooperation discussed by both sides are in security, agriculture, energy, finance, education, cultural, tourism, youth and sports, technical training, and technology.
Early this year, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif met with President Rodrigo Duterte during the formers official visit to the Manila early this year, when they reiterated both countries commitment to fighting terrorism.
In the said meeting, which Malacanang described as “very warm and cordial,” Duterte and Prince Abdul Aziz discussed strengthening bilateral ties and issues of mutual importance, particularly law enforcement, peace, security, and promoting the welfare of Filipino migrant workers.
Saudi Arabia is host to close to a million Filipino workers.