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Marcos: OFW presence in Middle East could drive Gulf investments

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. meets with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Malacañang in September 2022. — BONGBONG MARCOS TWITTER PAGE

THE STRONG presence of migrant Filipino workers in the Middle East could help the Philippines corner investments from Arab countries looking eastward for new ventures, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said on Wednesday. 

The Philippines has strong ties with the Middle East and talks between them “always begins with the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs),” he said in an open forum at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, based on a press release from the Office of the Presidential Communications (PCO). 

Trade has also been an important element in discussions with Arab nations, said Mr. Marcos, who cited the spending plan of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries for the next few years, which the Palace described as “very expansive and aggressive.” 

“Trade becomes part of the discussion with Arab nations as the Philippines speaks about its planned sovereign wealth fund, President Marcos noted,” the Palace release read.

“Some of the examples that we’re looking at are the ones in the Middle East because they have been the ones that have been most successful,” Mr. Marcos was quoted as saying.

“The connections are there,” he added, “any opportunities that we will be given…(we) have to take full advantage of.” 

The country had a total of 1.83 million OFWs in 2021, about 24.4% of whom worked in Saudi Arabia and 14.4% worked in the United Arab Emirates.    

Kuwait was the fourth largest destination for OFWs at 5.9%. Qatar came sixth place at 4.8%. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza 

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