President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is set to meet with the Filipino community and forge business ties at the sidelines of the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this week.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary for the Office of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Affairs Daniel Espiritu said President Marcos will visit the Filipino community in Riyadh shortly after the GCC Summit on October 20 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
The GCC Summit is primarily about the endorsement of the framework of cooperation between the ASEAN and the GCC, which is the first summit that aims to intensify and optimize the ties between the two regional organizations, which dated back to 1990.
President Marcos will be leaving for Riyadh on October 19, Espiritu said.
“Now, it’s very important because the GCC is composed of highly-developed Arab economies, and at the same time, they are petrochemical, and as well as hub and logistics economies,” Espiritu said in a weekly forum in Malacañang on Monday.
“They can help ASEAN in addressing energy and food security – energy security because they’re petrochemical powerhouses – but also food security because some of the countries there, especially Qatar, are among the largest producers of fertilizers and they can fill up the slack or deficit on the ASEAN side,” he added.
After his meeting with the Filipino community, Espiritu said there is also a plan for the President to hold a roundtable meeting with the Ministry of Investments of Saudi Arabia along with some Arab businesses.
“Now, there are also planned bilateral meetings with Saudi Arabia, as well as with Bahrain,” he added.
Espiritu said that the bilateral meetings would focus on the 54 years and 45 years of diplomatic relationship between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, respectively, should the planned meetings pursue as planned.
He added that the presentation of the Maharlika Fund could also be discussed during the meeting along with the administration’s pursuit for the protection of Filipinos in Saudi Arabia and its assistance to the development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
President Marcos will also discuss regional and international issues with the Arab officials, including the current development in the Middle East.
“But, we have to remember that these countries are not exactly directly involved in the conflict. Focus will be given more on the endorsement or denoting of the framework of cooperation between ASEAN and GCC for the years 2024 to 2028 as well as on the joint statement of the summit,” Espiritu said.
Espiritu added that the meeting will also set the tone for future plans of the cooperation between ASEAN and the GCC. | PND
Photo Courtesy of PCO