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PH, Qatar ink deals on fighting human trafficking, seafarers’ welfare, tourism, trade, sports, youth, visa waiver

The Philippines and Qatar signed at least nine agreements on Monday covering cooperation on combating human trafficking, seafarers’ welfare, tourism, sports and climate change during the state visit of Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Manila.

Among those signed included a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the governments of the Philippines and Qatar to strengthen ties and enhance bilateral cooperation in combating human trafficking.

Both nations agreed “to work together to combat human trafficking, including advancing labor protection in both countries, through exchange of expertise in the field of legislation and exchange of studies and research.”

Under the MOU, the two nations will work to identify and implement joint projects, exchange of legislations and regulations related to combating human trafficking, promote public awareness, and exchange studies and research on the issue.

Another MOU signed was the agreement on mutual recognition of seafarers’ certificate to implement the provisions stipulated in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention) of 1978, and the amendments, in which Qatar acceded by Decree No. (14) of 2003.

This refers to Circular No. 1450 issued by the Maritime Safety Committee on the January 24, 2013 on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates according to Regulation I/10 of the STCW Convention.

The MOU agreed between the Philippines’ Maritime Industry Authority, (Marina) and Qatar’s Ministry of Transport, “shall apply to the certificates of seafarers who serve on registered merchant ships of any of the participants and sail under its flag except for those who serve on the ships mentioned in Article 3 of the STCW Convention.”

Also signed was the MOU on technical cooperation on capacity building on climate change.

The agreement between the Philippines’ Climate Change Commission and Qatar’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change aim to enhance collaboration between the parties to jointly pursue technical cooperation, capacity building, enhance knowledge sharing and promote transformative climate action, aligned with the shared goals on climate action under the Paris Agreement of 2016.

“The Parties will enhance technical cooperation and capacity building on climate change in mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer and development, education and awareness.

Other areas of cooperation may be added as agreed upon in writing by the Parties through diplomatic channels,” the MOU read.

The Philippines and Qatar also forged an MOU to promote cooperation and facilitate communication between sports federations of both countries and to set the framework for the programs of cooperation in the field of sports, which are to be based on the principle of reciprocity.

Under the agreement, the participants shall strengthen their mutual cooperation in the field of sports by exchanging visits of sports delegations, coaches, experts and specialists in the field of sports and physical education, exchanging research and sharing experiences related to sports and physical activities and participation in meetings, conferences, lectures, seminars and academic forums on topics dealing with sports held in both countries.

They also eye to explore opportunities of staging sports competitions based on the interests of the sports federations where participation and financial issues in such competitions are subject to the concerned bodies in both countries.

An agreement in the field of tourism and business events between the Philippines and Qatar was also signed.

Under the MOU, the participants will strive to develop and strengthen the means of cooperation between them in the fields of tourism and business events on the basis of mutual benefits according to the rules and regulations applicable in both countries and relevant international obligations.

Through the MOU, both countries will cooperate to encourage tourist flows to travel to both countries, promote cooperation between the travel and tourism agencies and other relevant establishments to increase tourist exchange and promote tourism for both countries.

It also aims to strengthen coordination between the participants, encourage tourism investments in coordination with the competent authorities in both countries, and promote coordination among the participants at the international level, particularly in holding meetings, conferences and forums of international organizations regarding tourism.

The two countries are also enhancing their cooperation for the of youth.

“This Memorandum aims to promote cooperation between the participants and to facilitate communication between youth organizations in both countries and to set the framework for the programs of cooperation for the field of youth, which are to be based on the principle of reciprocity,” according to the MOU.

Through the MOU, the participants will work to enhance their cooperation through visit exchanges of youth delegations, members of youth centers and specialists in the field of youth, as well as experiences exchanges and research related to the youth sector.

Respective participants will also join meetings, conferences, lectures, seminars and academic forums on topics related to youth held in both countries, explore opportunities to establish youth camps alternately in both countries, and exchange researches and studies in the fields of youth employment and entrepreneurship.

Another agreement signed on Monday was on the waiver of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and special/official passports.

Through the agreement, the two nations seek to facilitate the travel of the parties’ nationals who are on official mission for their respective governments, respectful of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.

The agreement covers valid diplomatic and official passports for the Philippines, while those covered for Qatar will be valid diplomatic and special passports.

“Nationals of either party who are holders of valid passport types mentioned in Article 1 of this Agreement are exempted from the obligation to obtain visas for entry and stay in the territory of the other party, for a stay of 30 days,” the agreement read.

“Provided, the passport presented must have a validity period of at least three months beyond the period of allowed stay in the territory of the other Party,” it stated

Meanwhile, other MOUs signed were between the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry and between the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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