President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Thursday to attend the ASEAN – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit where major geopolitical developments, security, economic progress, and socio-cultural collaboration are high on the agenda.

The plane carrying the President and the members of the Philippine delegation touched down at 12:56 pm at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.

Upon arrival, the President is scheduled to attend a roundtable meeting with Saudi business leaders.

Marcos sees the Summit as an important platform for the Philippines to highlight the need for cooperation in energy and food security, logistics, supply chains, digital transformation, the free flow of goods, people, and services, as well as the enhancement and protection of the rights, particularly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

GCC countries are home to an estimated 2.2 million Filipinos working in critical fields.

The Philippine leader also promised to emphasize during the Summit the country’s advocacy for a rules-based international order to maintain peace and security, stability in both regions.

Aside from meeting Arab businesses, Marcos is also scheduled to meet with the Filipino community in Riyadh as part of his visit.

Foreign affairs officials said there are also planned bilateral meetings with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia and the Philippines established diplomatic relations on October 24, 1969.

The Philippines opened a mission in Jeddah in December 1973, while the Saudi government opened an embassy in Manila a year after.

The kingdom is the third largest source of OFW remittances although they have been declining since 2016. In 2020, the remittances amounted to appropriately US$1.8 billion, a 14-percent decline compared to US$2.1 billion in 2019.

Majority of remittances were from land-based OFWs. |PND

Photo Courtesy of PCO