President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday asked the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries to help Southeast Asian countries ensure the availability of reliable and sufficient supply of petroleum products, as well as fertilizer as the world grapples to weather the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and conflicts in various parts of the globe.

“In as much as its part of the world is the central powerhouse of petrochemical industries, we call on the GCC countries to help ensure the reliable and sufficient supply of oil and gas for ASEAN Member States to respond in a timely and effective manner to the vicissitudes in today’s energy economics, deepening social cleavages, and the disruptions of adverse geopolitical developments,” President Marcos said in his intervention during the first ASEAN-GCC Summit in Riyadh.

“We recognize that chemical fertilizers are the by-products of the petrochemical refinement process, and the GCC can also help ASEAN maintain its food security by filling up supply deficiencies in fertilizer export to our region.”

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are six member countries of the GCC while Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are composed the ASEAN.

The President also recognized the potential synergies between the hub economies of the GCC countries and the ASEAN Member States in their collective effort to address the supply chain disruption and to enhance the global logistics chains indispensable to trade and the international division of labor in manufacturing.

As to the ASEAN-GCC relations and bilateral engagements, the Filipino leader said that the success of the two blocs’ cooperation depends on the vibrant people-to-people ties.

“It is, therefore, imperative that we ensure the free flow not only of goods, but also primarily of professionals, labor, and services between our regions, as well as their upskilling and the enhancement and protection of their rights and promotions of their welfare,” Marcos said.

GCC countries are home to an estimated 2.2 million Filipinos and roughly 2.7 million citizens of ASEAN Member States working in critical fields, providing valuable contributions not only to their host country economies, but also to the Philippine and ASEAN economies.  |PND

Photo Courtesy of PCO