Philippine President to make first Qatar visit on Friday

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President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte will make his first state visit to Qatar at the end of this week, the embassy has announced.

Duterte will arrive on Friday for a two-day trip that ends Sunday, April 16. His visit will mark the first high-level meeting between the two nations in five years.

Filipino expats will have a chance to meet him during a community event at the Lusail Sports Arena on Saturday, April 15 between 6:30pm and 8pm.

Raja Raman/Flickr

Lusail hall

However, prior registration to meet the official is required. This is because the former handball venue only holds some 6,000 people and “for security reasons,” the embassy said.

According to the Peninsula, registration can be done online here via the United Filipino Organizations in Qatar website.

Qatar support

Duterte is a controversial figure internationally, in part of remarks he has made about women, journalists, homosexuals and capital punishment.

But he has strong support in Qatar, where the majority of expats cast their overseas ballots for him.

Philippines embassy in Doha/Facebook

Philippines embassy in Doha

When he arrives, he will likely have a lot to talk about with Qatar’s four-largest expat community, behind Indians, Nepalis and Bangladeshis.

Filipinos now number more than 260,000 people in the country, in part due to Qatar’s reliance on domestic labor.

Analysts have said they expect Duterte to push for more rights for OFWs in the Gulf.

US Pacific Fleet/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Prior to his arrival in Doha, Duterte is also visiting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Other topics of interest with senior officials in Qatar will likely include foreign investment and tackling terrorism, CBN News reports.

And last year, outgoing ambassador Wilfredo Santo said that education, culture, health and tourism would also be on the agenda during the president’s visit.

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