Bahrain is supporting the Philippines’ efforts to counter violent extremism (CVE), forge economic partnerships, and in particular, the promotion of overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs) welfare abroad, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recently announced.
“We are going home with assurances from the Crown Prince, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Bahrain that they are friends and partners the Philippines can count on,” DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said, following his two-day official visit to Manama.
The official met Prime Minister Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa who reiterated his government’s support for the Philippines and Filipinos working in Bahrain.
“The Prime Minister informed us about a number of initiatives that Bahrain is taking to further protect the rights and promote the welfare of Filipinos and other expatriate workers,” Cayetano said.
During their meeting at the Gudaibiya Palace, the Prime Minister not only commended the 60,000 Filipinos working in the Kingdom but also reiterated his government’s readiness to receive more.
“Prime Minister Khalifa told us that we have nothing to worry about as far as our workers are concerned and he even gave his personal assurance that his office will deal with any problem that may involve our kababayans,” Cayetano added.
On Sunday, he also met with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa at the Alzahir Palace and discussed areas that the Philippines and Bahrain could further strengthen bilateral relations, such as trade and investment and countering violent extremism.
“The Crown Prince also expressed admiration for President Duterte’s strong and decisive action in fighting terrorism in Marawi,” Cayetano said.
In the same day, he met Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa and discussed plans for the holding of the 1st High Joint Commission Meeting between the two states to be held in Manila.
Cayetano was accompanied during his meetings by his wife Maria Laarni Cayetano, Special Envoy to the Gulf Cooperation Council Amable Aguiluz V, Ambassador Alfonso Ferdinand Ver, and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Middle East and Africa Affairs Hjayceelyn Quintana.
The visit of the secretary to Manama came two weeks after Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola met with Prime Minister Khalifa.
In that meeting, DFA said Arriola praised the Bahrain government for its efforts to put in place processes that will enhance the protection of Filipinos and other expatriate workers there.