THE Philippines and Bahrain signed four agreements during the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Bahrain, the second leg of his state visits to Middle East.
In a news conference in Qatar on Friday, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the agreements forged between the two countries included setting up a joint commission on bilateral trade, avoidance of double taxation, strengthening of aviation links and new investments.
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Duterte witnessed the signing ceremony after their bilateral meeting at Sakhir Palace where they discussed economic cooperation.
“They discussed, basically, the growing friendship between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Bahrain. I think they had a very warm discussion and I think the king expressed the appreciation of the Kingdom of Bahrain for the contribution of Filipinos here,” Abella said.
“[The President] thinks that now we are embarking on a higher level of cooperation. So it was a very warm and friendly discussion especially during the dinner, and then they exchanged views also on some regional and global issues, and also discussions on bilateral matters especially the friendship between the two countries,” he added.
The Palace official said leaders from Bahrain expressed “deep admiration” for Duterte and his leadership.
“These present leaders speak lovingly of Filipinos as a whole and some actually know Filipino words, and a number actually can converse in the dialect. In all, one discerns that he is bringing the Filipino to a place of self-worth, self-rule and self-support, all played before a watching world,” Abella said.
“There are those who minimize these by focusing on the negative stories; but in an imperfect world, there are many who have been touched by the caring heart of the Filipino, and the courage of an obscure leader to bring his people through their wilderness and into their promised land,” he added.
Duterte first visited Saudi Arabia, where he was able to secure three agreements, before proceeding to Bahrain.
He was in Qatar on Saturday to talk to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Philippine Ambassador to Doha Alan Timbayan said initial agreements expected to be signed involve the exchange of health specialists and medical workers, proposals for a Qatar-Philippines exhibit and education training.
The President was scheduled to speak before the Philippines-Qatar Business Forum and meet the Filipino community on Saturday.
He is expected to return to the Philippines on Sunday.