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Welfare of Filipino workers focus of talks during Duterte Gulf tour

Welfare of Filipino workers focus of talks during Duterte Gulf tour

Duterte, in a prepared speech at the airport, said the goal of his visit to the Middle East is to create "deeper, more meaningful and more positive engagements" with the region.

Controversial blogger and presidential appointee Mocha Uson is part of President Rodrigo Duterte's official delegation during his state visits to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar this Holy Week.

DFA also said the nature of most cases of the Filipinos in death row include murder, theft, and drugs.

Filipino organisations in the Gulf kingdom, which still hosts nearly 800,000 workers from the Southeast Asian nation, said the unpaid wages will be on the agenda when they meet Duterte during his two-day Riyadh stop.

Abella issued this clarification after Duterte said on Monday, April 10, that he would bring home some OFWs on death row in the Middle East. He (Duterte) was asked about the death row matter.

The Philippine government said 31 Filipinos face the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy that follows a strict version of Islam's sharia law. I will fly them home.

"There is much at stake in the Philippines' relations with the Middle East", Duterte said in his departure speech.

In Saudi Arabia, Duterte will meet King Salman bid Abdulaziz Al Saud to "reaffirm a lasting friendship and to seek ways of further broadening cooperation, particularly in politico-security and defense, trade and investments, anti-narcotics, labor, energy, education, and culture". "Those who are given the permission of clemency... we'll start bringing them back", he added.

They are also expected to tackle the convergence of interest in order to intensify trade and investments and seek greater political security cooperation and exchange.

The Middle East is now the second largest source of remittances for the country.

He will then proceed to Bahrain to meet with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Manama and then to Doha, Qatar, to meet with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. OFWs working in these three countries remitted nearly P 7.6 billion pesos in 2016.

More than 1 million Filipinos reside and work in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.

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