PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte was able to secure over $925 million possible new investments from the three Middle Eastern countries that he has visited, officials said Sunday.
The investment pledges between Filipino businessmen and their counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar, if realized, could create approximately 26,000 new jobs for the Filipinos, according to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella in a press conference in Qatar.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said included in the business deals were the 13 agreements signed in Doha on Saturday. The deals cover construction of retirement villages, tourism, hospitals, and non-agroindustrial zones, and poultry and halal food facilities.
Duterte and Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar also witnessed the signing of several agreements, such as memoranda of understanding in the fields of culture, technical, vocational, education and training, agreement on health cooperation, and investment agreement, acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo shared.
Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial meanwhile said the health agreement, which was 10 years in the making, would "promote principle of reciprocity and mutual benefit," wherein doctors and health professionals of both countries could study and practice either in the Philippines or Qatar.
150 repatriated OFWs from Saudi to arrive with Duterte
In a related development, Duterte is set to welcome early Monday some 150 repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who were granted amnesty by the Saudi Arabian government.
Abella, in the same press conference in Qatar, said the OFWs include those that were overstaying or undocumented.
The returning OFWs are expected to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal I at around 3:30 a.m., almost the same time when Duterte will arrive from Qatar, the last leg of his three-nation trip in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia has been implementing amnesty program for undocumented foreigners.
Before Duterte proceeded to Qatar, he also undertook state visits to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. (SDR/SunStar Philippines)