Qatar-Philippines ties strong: Ambassador
11 Jul 2017 - 0:42
By Raynald C Rivera / The Peninsula
Bilateral ties between the Philippines and Qatar have been strong and the Philippine economy is robust, said Philippine Ambassador Alan Timbayan as he spoke before the diplomatic community at the Philippine Independence Day diplomatic reception on Sunday.
Timbayan said the recent state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Qatar “reaffirmed the strong bilateral relations between the Philippines and Qatar which was built on the foundation of mutual trust and respect, spanning 36 years.”
“The visit saw the signing of four bilateral agreements which are expected to boost trade and cooperation initiatives for halal products and services, as well as promote investment opportunities in the Philippines,” he said.
He spoke of the Philippine economy performing well due to “the government spending on public goods and services, sustained investment flows and domestic consumption.”
“Inflation slowed down to 2.8 percent in June 2017 and is expected to settle for the rest of the year. Despite the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi and other economic setbacks, the Philippines remains to be one of the fastest growing economies in Asia,” he said.
The Ambassador cited the International Monetary Fund forecast the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 6.8 to 7 percent this year which is within the government’s target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent.
Apart from trade and economy, the Philippines also aims to bolster relationship with Qatar and other countries in other fields including culture and tourism among others, according to the envoy. “As the Philippines aims to experience robust economic growth, we also aim to strengthen cultural exchanges through a vigorous tourism promotion campaign which will enable tourists to discover the wonders of our fascinating tourist destinations,” he said.
With the Philippines' chairmanship of ASEAN this year, the Ambassador emphasized, “the Philippines aspires for a prosperous and “drug-free” ASEAN that is a catalyst for positive change in the world community.”
He concluded his speech thanking Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and the Qatari community for the warm hospitality accorded to more than 220,000 Filipinos working and living in Qatar. “We are honoured to be able to contribute to the progress and development of Qatar. We look forward to sustaining the strong bonds of friendship between our two countries in the years to come,” he ended.
The event organised by the Philippine embassy at City Centre Rotana Doha was graced by Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Wahid Ali Al Hammadi, Minister of Education and Higher Education, and attended by ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions, VIP guests and Filipino community leaders.
It follows the grand Independence Day celebrations two weeks ago which saw three days of cultural performances, trade and food fair, and free lectures and workshops.