‘’The Republic of the Philippines Embassy in Doha announced that the PresidentPresident of the Philippines, Duterte, would pay an official visit to Qatar. Accordingly, he is scheduled to visit the island on Friday, April 14, 2017, for a three-day official visit. In this regard, Filipinos are invited to participate in the Filipino community meeting held at the Lusail Sports Arena on Saturday from 6.30 pm to 8 pm.’’

Excerpt: From the official announcement signed by Philippine Ambassador Alan L Timbayan

As stated in the 2016 elections, it was confirmed that the Philippine President receives much support from overseas Filipinos. The President had a great victory in many countries that held the election, including Qatar, where there are more than 260,000 Filipinos. 

According to the above announcement, he expected many foreigners to come to the meeting that day. And so it happened. They also set up a pre-registration for those interested in attending the community meeting.

At the end of President Duterte’s visit to Qatar, the aim was to mark the end of three countries in the GCC. The embassy expected him to be in Bahrain from Wednesday to Friday of that week before flying to Qatar from Saudi Arabia. They expected to sign several agreements and then meet the Filipino community.

Philippine president Duterte signed the Qatar agreement.

The purpose of their destination was to consolidate the unity of the Philippines and Qatar. Accordingly, Qatar explained the explicit purpose of Philippine President Duterte’s agreements to increase cooperation in various fields such as health, culture and technology, vocational education, and training.

Accordingly, to Philippine Ambassador Alan Timbayan, during the President’s two-day official visit to the Middle East, President Duterte and Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Al Thani announced that they would sign agreements. In addition, bilateral agreements were also signed regarding promoting and protecting proposals during the President’s visit.

After such an agreement, they expected that Qatari companies would focus their proposals on different sectors. Therefore, they believed many more suggestions would come to the Philippines. The Qatari ambassador said in a discussion that the Philippines provides the best place for their proposals.

During Philippine President Duterte’s visit to Qatar, experts, doctors, and research trainers from both countries signed an agreement on health services focusing on exchanging knowledge.

Ambassador Timbayan said in a press conference to sign the agreements that Qatar’s art and literature would be brought to the Philippines through the signing of the cultural contract. Accordingly, they also focused on holding a Qatar-Philippines exhibition day there.

Through the strengthening of the agreements on that day, there was a massive recruitment of Filipino skilled workers for the FIFA World Cup construction sites hosted by Qatar in 2022. Their agreements aimed to increase the demand for Filipino engineers and workers in Qatar to develop the infrastructure sector.

Among other countries in the Middle East, Qatar is the top destination for OFWs. Many Filipino expatriates who have adapted to life in Qatar are heavily involved in the Qatari industry.

The proliferation of Filipino workers in many fields, including nurses, software engineers, architects, bankers, construction, health, and finance. Filipina domestic workers in Qatar have also taken a big hit.

OFW in Qatar

Due to the national and economic relations between the Philippines and Qatar, many people go to Qatar for resettlement. They immigrate to Qatar hoping for gainful employment through a more lucrative salary. They also aim to keep Filipino families at home and allow them to earn enough money. Being an OFW in Qatar is an excellent opportunity to explore the fascinating culture and meet people of the Arab world.

Due to the growing economy and relations between the two countries, there are great investment opportunities for Filipinos in Qatar. Many other companies worldwide have set up offices and branches in Qatar, creating opportunities for residents.

Due to several Philippine-Qatar agreements, including Philippine President Duterte’s visit to Qatar, many laws were relaxed for Filipino workers. As Filipinos, it is tough to leave home, but they live in Qatar as if they are at home.

The high salary in Qatar compared to the low wage in the Philippines is another reason Filipinos are attracted to Qatar. Qatar’s salary, more or less comparable to Western countries, is very attractive to Filipinos. 

Whether a skilled worker in the Philippines or someone with certified work experience, it is easy to meet their expenses and fill the piggy bank by working in the Middle East plant.

Relations between the Philippines and the Gulf States

The visit to Saudi Arabia occurred on the first trip before Philippine President Duterte visited Qatar. During that visit, President Duterte built a strong partnership with the Saudi government on political and economic fronts. Efforts to protect the rights of overseas Filipino workers were thus unleashed.

President Duterte and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud discussed the relationship between the two holy mosques. During the President’sPresident’s visit to three countries, the focus on labor welfare was repeatedly highlighted in media discussions.

In addition, President Duterte’s central program was the campaign against illegal drugs. The purpose of the PresidentPresident was to exchange intelligence information between countries and to get cooperation to build the capacity to fight against that menace. 

Many Filipinos have been jailed in Saudi Arabia in connection with drug cases. But the rulers felt that the host country’s law should be respected.

Final thoughts

Qatar has become the destination for a large number of Filipinos. The economic, social, and cultural relationship between Qatar and the Philippines has a long history. However, both countries aim to strengthen those relations. ‘’ Philippine president Duterte to visit Qatar on 14-16 April 2017’’ The headline testifies to that. Even after the global pandemic, it continued to grow stronger.