By Roy Mabasa
President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to arrive in Manama, Bahrain Wednesday night (early Thursday morning in Manila) making him the first head of the Philippine government to visit this small Arab monarchy in the Persian Gulf in 8 years.
For this visit, said Philippine Ambassador to Bahrain Alfonso Ver, President Duerte will be meeting with His Majesty, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain with whom he will have bilateral talks. He is also slated to sign five to six agreements which includes the establishment of the High Joint Commission which will be the forum and the mechanism where the entire range of relationships between Bahrain and the Philippines will be discussed.
Also to be inked during Duterte’s visit in Bahrain are amendments to the double taxation and air services agreements, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Foreign Service Institute of the Philippines and the Diplomatic Institute of the Bahrain Foreign Ministry, and a business investment agreement between private companies from both countries.
The signing of these agreements, said Ver, will further strengthen the relations between the Philippines and Bahrain and their peoples, and reaffirms the Duterte administration’s support and commitment for the protection of the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers.
President Duterte will also grace a business forum at the Capital Club of Bahrain. Eminent business persons will attend the event to listen to a presentation from the Philippine economic team on possible investments, mutual opportunities for economic exchanges, trade and investment, and tourism.
Finally, he will attend a Filipino community event to be held at the Khalifa Sports Stadium.
“Thousands of Filipinos have already registered and are eagerly awaiting to see and hear the President speak to them,” said Ver in a media interview. “They are just so anxious and excited to hear direct from him his programs, his plans for the workers here, for their welfare, for their protection, and of course, what they look forward to in the Philippines under his administration.”