Duterte wants a bite of $500-B Mideast investment fund
President Rodrigo Duterte is hoping to secure a chunk of the $500-billion in investment capital of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar when he visits the three Middle Eastern countries next week.
Duterte is set to visit in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar on April 10 to 16.
“The President hopes that through the stronger partnerships he will forge during this visit, he can tap into the over 500 billion US dollars combined investment capital of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and State of Qatar and bring home more investment and jobs for our people,” Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Hjayceelyn Quintana told reporters in a Palace briefing on Friday.
Quintana said Duterte would “explore avenues for economic and political cooperation” during his state visits.
She said Duterte would witness the signing of agreements on labor, agriculture, air services, culture, health and political bilateral consultations.
The foreign affairs official, citing data from the Department of Energy, said 87 percent of the total crude mix of the Philippines was sourced from the Middle East. She said 36.1 percent came from Saudi Arabia, the top supplier of crude oil into the country.
“In terms of economic cooperation, the President will explore partnerships in tourism development, halal food security, Islamic finance and energy security, as well as investments,” she said. “He will invite these countries to invest particularly in Mindanao as a way of lifting Mindanao out of both poverty and conflict.”
On political cooperation, Quintana said Duterte was keen on seeking partnerships in security, countering terrorism and combating illicit drugs.
“The President hopes to inspire people making a living in these countries to help him build a more developed and economically vibrant Philippines,” she said.
Duterte is set to meet with the Filipino communities in the three countries, she said.
Saudi Arabia, she said, is home to 760,000 Filipinos while Bahrain has about 60,000 and Qatar has around 250,000.
“The President desires that in the not so distant future there will no longer be a reason for Filipinos to leave their families behind in order to make a living,” she said. CBB
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