Marcos Likely To Visit Saudi Arabia As Countries Celebrate Emerald Anniversary Of Ties


By Ellie Aben

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is likely to visit Saudi Arabia as the two countries celebrate the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year, Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo told Arab News. 

Labor relations have been a main pillar of Saudi-Philippine ties, as the Kingdom is a major destination for overseas Filipino workers with more than 450,000 Filipinos working in the Kingdom between April and September 2022, latest government data showed. 

The two countries established diplomatic ties on Oct. 24, 1969 and have recently been trying to deepen trade engagements. Last year, their business leaders signed investment deals collectively worth over $4.26 billion during Marcos’ visit to Riyadh to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council’s inaugural summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. 

“The president had a fruitful visit to Saudi Arabia during the Kingdom’s hosting of the inaugural ASEAN-GCC Summit last October. A presidential state visit to Saudi Arabia in the near future is a possibility,” Manalo told Arab News over the weekend. 

“We are positive that it would serve as an opportunity for our leaders to discuss ways of increasing political and economic cooperation, especially as we are set to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries this year.” 

The Philippines and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed over five decades of “warm and vibrant bilateral ties,” Manalo said, adding that the Southeast Asian country is hoping to attract more Saudi investors following reforms that have simplified investment requirements and processes. 

“While labor relations remain a vital pillar of our ties, we are keen to broaden our partnership into other fields, such as renewable energy, tourism, and development of the Philippines’ halal industry.”

In January, the predominantly Catholic Philippines launched a strategic plan to develop its halal industry, aimed at creating 120,000 new jobs and attracting $4 billion in investments by 2028, as the country seeks to tap into the global halal market, which is estimated to be worth over $7 trillion. 

“The Philippines looks forward to deepening our collaboration with the new Saudi Arabia, spanning both traditional and emerging sectors,” he said. 

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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