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DOHA, Qatar – President Duterte is bringing home a whopping $925 million worth of investments from his weeklong journey in the Middle East, apart from the repatriation of 150 Filipino workers granted amnesty from Saudi Arabia.
Another $1 billion worth of sovereign investment fund from Qatar is also forthcoming as part of the investment protection and promotion agreement with the tiny energy-rich emirate, according to Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez.
“They are not only impressed by the President, they love the President. They love him because he’s a no nonsense guy.
They consider us like brothers,” Lopez said in a media interview about the revitalized trade and investment relations following the President’s visit to Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia in the past week.
“The President’s visit to the Middle East is really part of “Dutertenomics” that aims to create more jobs, attract more investments to the country,” Lopez said, citing the President’s commitment to combat corruption and offer a level playing field for potential investors.
“These are part of the socioeconomic agenda that will in the end uplift the quality of life of Filipinos.”
The President wrapped up his state visit to Qatar, the last leg of his Middle East tour, with a meeting with the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Than on revitalized bilateral relations especially on trade and investment.
Duterte is expected to return to Manila this afternoon.
“During the President’s weeklong country visit, he witnessed the signing of over $925 million worth of investment deals among Saudi, Bahraini, and Qatari businessmen, which expected to create approximately 62,000 jobs,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a press conference at Four Seasons Hotel here.
Of the $925 million business ventures, the President secured $469 million from Saudi Arabia that can generate 16,000 jobs; $250 million in Bahrain that can create 2,000 jobs; and $206 million in Qatar for 5,770 jobs.
Several agreements were also forged on investment, labor cooperation, strengthening of diplomatic ties, air services, avoidance of double taxation, and cooperation on culture, health, and technical and vocational education and training during the President’s Middle East tour.
Apart from the proposed business ventures in the country, Abella the President managed to secure the repatriation of 150 Filipinos granted amnesty from Saudi Arabia.
“He is expected to arrive in the Philippines with more than 150 OFWs from Saudi Arabia, the first batch of which of those being repatriated by the Philippine government due to the grant of amnesty to overstaying and undocumented foreign workers by the Saudi government,” Abella added.
The Filipino workers are expected to take a commercial flight and arrive in Manila this morning, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
In Doha alone, Lopez said the 13 private business agreements forged during the President’s visit are expected to create more than 5,000 jobs.
The Qatari investments to the Philippines covered tourism, Information Technology, healthcare, poultry/halal food processing, digital marketing, coco fiber manufacturing, and agro-industrial economic zone.
Lopez said the two countries also signed an investment protection and promotion agreement that will facilitate the release of the $1 billion sovereign fund from the Gulf state.
“On top of what we reported earlier of $925 million of new investments, business-to-business deals, there is a $1-billion dollar fund that could be made available. It’s a facility that will be available also for investment activities,” he said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)