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Bahrain, PH ties assured

Bahrain has assured the Philippines of its support for Manila’s efforts to counter violent extremism, forge economic partnerships, and promote the welfare of its overseas workers.

The assurances were given to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano in his meetings with ranking Bahraini officials during his two-day official visit to Manama.

“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,” Secretary Cayetano said.

On Sunday, Cayetano met with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa at the Alzahir Palace where they discussed areas where 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.

The Secretary also 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, Cayetano said 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.

The Secretary also met Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday.

Both discussed plans for the holding of the 1st High Joint Commission Meeting between the Philippines and Bahrain to be held in Manila.

The Secretary was accompanied during his meetings by Taguig Mayor 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 Cayetano to Manama came two weeks after Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola met with Prime Minister Khalifa.

In that meeting Undersecretary 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.