Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez today lauded President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. for the immense success of his two-day Saudi Arabia trip, securing billions of dollars in actual investment and pledges, opening huge job opportunities for Filipinos and strengthening strategic ties with allies that promises to boost our nation’s economic prosperity.
Among others, the President’s trip resulted in agreements signed between Saudi and Filipino firms with an estimated total value of US $4.26 billion, expected to benefit around 300,000 Filipino workers and ignited keen interest of Saudi businesses in the Maharlika Investment Fund.
These developments were the result of the President’s meeting with top Saudi business leaders on the sidelines of his participation in the 2023 ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit, as well as bilateral meetings held with several GCC leaders.
“In light of these significant accomplishments, we commend President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. for his immensely successful visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Romualdez, leader of the 300-plus strong House of Representatives.
“His dedication, exceptional diplomatic finesse and vision for our nation’s future have resulted in tangible benefits for our country and our people, and we eagerly anticipate the positive impact these achievements will have on the Philippines’ growth and prosperity,” he added.
He noted that the developments arising from the President’s Saudi visit are a testament to the growing confidence in the Philippines as a prime destination for foreign capital, reflecting positively on the economic climate and the leadership of our nation.
Likewise, he said the gains achieved in Saudi is a testimony to Pres. Marcos, Jr.’s vision for a more prosperous and interconnected global economy, one where the Philippines plays an integral role.
He noted that according to Pres. Marcos, Saudi business and government officials assured him of their willingness to invest in the Philippines for mutually-beneficial ventures, including food production, as well as their preference for the Filipino workers to meet their growing demand for labor.
Speaking to members of the Philippine media shortly before flying back to the Philippines, Pres. Marcos, Jr. expressed confident of a bright future in the partnership between the Gulf States and ASEAN member countries.
“There is a very clear understanding, especially amongst the leaders of the Gulf states that in this globalized economy, it is important to continue to make these arrangements, make these agreements so that we have a very strong basis from which to transform our economies and from which we can grow,” he pointed out.
During the summit, he also asked GCC member countries to help Southeast Asian countries ensure the availability of reliable and sufficient supply of petroleum products, as well as fertilizer as the world grapples to weather the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and conflicts in various parts of the globe.
Meanwhile, Romualdez also noted the brief but promising meeting of Pres. Marcos, Jr. with the Kuwaiti Crown Prince.
“This encounter brings hope for the restoration of diplomatic relations between our two nations, which had previously been strained due to labor issues and the need to protect the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers,” Romualdez said.
According to the President, the Kuwaiti monarch told him that he is displeased with the present Philippine-Kuwait relation and that the Philippines need not issue an apology. Instead, he said it’s the Crown Prince who offered an apology for what some of his people are doing.
“‘We will fix it and we will make it because we love the Philippines.’ And he said, ‘Because I remember your father,’ Sabi nya, ‘He always supported Kuwait. He always supported us and we know that you will also always support us, that’s why we will fix this,” the President said, quoting the Kuwaiti leader.
Pres. Marcos, Jr. said this development is one of the successes of his trip to Saudi Arabia.
The Gulf state suspended the issuance of entry and work visas to Filipinos due to the Philippines’ supposed non-compliance with the labor agreement between the two countries.
On the other hand, the Philippine government temporarily banned the deployment of first-time household service workers to Kuwait following the slaying of Jullebee Ranara, whose burnt corpse was found in the desert.
In 2018, the previous administration imposed a temporary deployment ban after the murder of household worker Joan Demafelis.