PHL, Qatar set to ink agreements during Duterte’s state visit

DOHA, Qatar – Three agreements are set to be signed by the Philippines and Qatar during President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit here aimed at improving collaboration in areas of health, culture, and technical vocational education and training.

According to Philippine ambassador Alan Timbayan, President Duterte and Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Al Thani will witness the signing of the agreements when they meet on April 16 during President Duterte’s two-day state visit to the Middle East country.

Aside from agreements on healthcare, arts and technical vocational trainings, possible addition would be a waiver on visa for diplomatic passport holders, Timbayan said in an interview.

Also, the ambassador said they are looking forward to the signing of bilateral agreement on the promotion and protection of investments during the President’s visit.

Once such agreement is signed, more investments  will come to the Philippines as Qatari companies eye to diversify their investment to different fields. They see the Philippines as one of the best locations for their investment, according to Timbayan.

“We are sure on health and then culture and vocational technical education and training,”  he said on the agreements to be signed by the two countries.

The agreement on healthcare will focus on exchanges of expertise of specialists, research trainers and doctors from both countries.

In the agreement on culture, Timbayan said they are proposing for the conduct of a Qatar-Philippine exhibit day this year. Some of the country’s arts and culture will be brought to Qatar and also Qatar arts to the Philippines.

He said they foresee recruitment of more Filipino skilled workers for Qatar as the gulf state accelerates its constructions of hotels and other infrastructures geared towards the celebration of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

The demand for Filipino engineers and laborers is expected to increase as a result of Qatar’s thrust to develop its infrastructure sector, Timbayan said.

Doha is home to 222,721 workers, based on the data obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or MOFA as of May 2016, Timbayan reported.

There are more than 3,000 Filipino professionals working as engineers, nurses, soft ware developers, geologists, architects, bankers, teachers, and doctors.

Skilled workers on the other hand are composed of laboratory technicians, cooks, chefs, carpenters, welders, and plumbers.

There are also Filipino household workers in Qatar.###PND