King Salman: Filipino workers contributed much to Saudi economy
RIYADH – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud expressed his gratitude, on Tuesday, to the Filipino people who, he said, had greatly helped Saudi citizens in their daily activities.
The Saudi monarch showed his appreciation for the work of Filipino workers when he met President Rodrigo Duterte and the official Philippine delegation at his private residence for the second time for bilateral meetings.
He earlier met Duterte, shortly after the President’s arrival on Monday, during which, he offered the King’s guest house for Duterte and his party to stay while in Riyadh.
Duterte is now among few foreign leaders to stay at the King’s guest house. Then US President Barack Obama had stayed at the Ritz Carlton Hotel when he visited Riyadh in April 2016.
King Salman – speaking through an interpreter – told Duterte, the first Philippine President to visit Saudi Arabia after eight years, that the Philippines has immensely contributed to Saudi Arabia’s economy by providing professionals and other skilled workers for the Kingdom.
There are 763,825 Filipinos living in various parts of Saudi Arabia – including 21,250 undocumented or irregular migrants, according to data released by Malacañang.
Out of that number, 142,997 are categorized as professionals; 131,746 are skilled laborers; and 194,418 provide domestic services to Saudi families.
King Salman was visibly elated at the President’s visit and stayed during the signing of bilateral agreements between his kingdom and the Philippines.
Among the signed agreements were for political consultations between Saudi’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs, and a labor cooperation for general workers’ recruitment and employment between the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Department of Labor and Employment, according to Malacañang.
Duterte also held a meeting with Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Khalid bin Abdulaziz al-Falih and discussed with him possible economic and industrial cooperation.
Duterte also talked with Saudi Minister of Labor and Social Development, Dr. Ali bin Nasser al-Ghafees and other Saudi ministry officials.
During his meeting with King Salman, which was held in private, Duterte and the monarch also reviewed bilateral cooperation and discussed the latest developments in the international arena, the official Saudi Press Agency said in a dispatch.
The President’s Saudi visit was described by Philippine officials as part of the government’s efforts to strengthen efforts for the protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare of overseas Filipino workers and invite Middle Eastern investors to the Philippines.
Malacañang said it was aimed at forging stronger partnerships by elevating “our political and economic cooperation with these countries to new heights.” SFM
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