PBBM flying to Saudi Arabia to meet with Gulf leaders

(Photo by Yummie Dingding)
(Photo by Yummie Dingding)

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. departed the Philippines for Saudi Arabia on Thursday morning to mainly discuss with Gulf leaders how to further protect Filipino workers in the Middle East and join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Gulf Cooperation Council (ASEAN-GCC) Summit.

Apart from discussing migrant issues, the Department of Foreign Affairs said earlier this week that talks on possible cooperation on a supply activity will be among the topics that Marcos and other leaders will discuss during the ASEAN-GCC Summit in Riyadh.

Another point of discussion would be the support provided by the Arabs in the advancement of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

More items in the President's agenda involve potential one-on-one discussions with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and a gathering with the Filipino community before the commencement of the summit on Friday.

"This (ASEAN-GCC) summit will serve as an important platform for the Philippines to highlight the need for cooperation in energy and food security, logistics and supply chains, digital transformation, the free flow of goods, people, and services, and enhancement and protection of the rights of overseas workers," Marcos said in his departure speech at Villamor Airbase.

"We will emphasize our advocacy for a rules-based international order to maintain peace, security, and stability in our regions," Marcos added.

Marcos' visit to the Middle East comes amid an ongoing flare-up between Israel and Gaza.

The Philippine Airlines flight PR001, which was mainly chartered for the visit, departed the Villamor Airbase after 7:30 a.m. Thursday. It is also expected to land in Riyadh after 9 hours and 45 minutes.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) consists of six nations: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The headquarters of the organization are located in Riyadh, which is also hosting the first ASEAN-GCC Summit.

ASEAN, on the other hand, is composed of 10 member states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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