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President leaves for Mideast today

President Duterte is set to embark on a three-nation swing in the Middle East this week to advance the country’s interests, including the protection of the rights and welfare of Filipino workers there.

The President is scheduled to depart Davao City this afternoon for his weeklong journey abroad on a mission for “people, progress, and partnerships.”

Duterte will first pay a state visit to Saudi Arabia from April 10 to 12, followed by Bahrain from April 12 to 14, and Qatar from April 14 to 16.

His historic visit includes meetings with the royal leaders of the Middle East countries as well as the Filipino communities there.

“The President hopes that through the stronger partnerships he will forge during this visit, he can tap into the over $500-billion combined investment capital of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and State of Qatar and bring home more investment and jobs for our people,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Hjayceelyn Quintana said in a recent Malacañang press briefing.

Quintana said the President’s visit to the Middle East seeks to strengthen efforts for the protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare of the more than one million Filipino workers.

She said the President also plans to “invite investors to the Philippines and usher in progress here at home and to forge stronger partnerships by elevating our political and economic cooperation with these countries to new heights.”

In Riyadh, the President is expected to meet Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Duterte will also hold talks with Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Manama as well as Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)