9 April 2011
Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay concluded on 5 April a 4-day successful visit to Saudi Arabia during which he met with Saudi officials, the Filipino community and Saudi businessmen.
VP Binay arrived in Riyadh on 1 April 2011. On his first day of his visit, he met with the officials of the Embassy and attached services to discuss the situation of Philippines in Saudi Arabia. He also visited the Filipino Workers Resource Center. In the evening, he met with the Filipino community leaders in Riyadh for more than 3 hours.
His delegation included former Senator Francisco Tatad, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, former Amb. and Congressman Apolinario Lozada Jr. and Rep. Umpong Plaza.
Meetings with Saudi officials
On 2 April, VP Binay and delegation met with the Minister of Labor HE Engr. Adel Faqih at the Ministry of Labor. The two sides discussed various initiatives that would improve the conditions of Filipino workers in the Kingdom.
VP Binay also met with HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom. They discussed bilateral relations in various fields, including Saudi support to the peace process in the southern Philippines.
VP Binay, joined by his delegation and the prominent Philippine businessmen met with the Minister of Commerce and Industry HE Abdullah Zainal Reza. The two sides discussed enhancing bilateral trade and commercial relations, including cooperation in food security and increasing Philippine exports to Saudi Arabia.
In the evening of 2 April, the Minister of Labor hosted an official dinner in honor of H.E. Vice President Jejomar Binay and his delegation.
VP Binay also met with HRH Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud on 3 April. Prince Salman expressed appreciation for the role of Filipinos in the development of the Saudi economy, and described Filipinos as professionals and skilled. He reiterated the Saudi authorities committed to help resolve the problems of Filipinos in Riyadh region.
In his last day in Riyadh, VP Binay met with the Deputy Minister of Interior (with the rank of Minister of State) Dr. Ahmed Al-Salem. During the meeting, both sides discussed proposed agreements for security cooperation, including a bilateral agreement for the transfer of sentenced persons. Both sides also discussed issues of concern to Filipinos in Saudi Arabia.
Promoting trade and investments
The visit of VP Binay also promoted bilateral trade and investments. VP Binay, joined by prominent business delegations, met with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in both Riyadh and Jeddah.
VP Binay also met with HRH Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who briefed VP Binay on the status of the 3 billion dollar Raffles-Fairmont investment in Makati city, which will be completed and inaugurated in 2012.
Meetings with Filipinos
During his visit to Saudi Arabia, VP Binay was able to meet the Filipino community leaders in Riyadh and Jeddah, and had extensive interaction to hear their concerns.
He also visited the female distressed workers in Riyadh and Jeddah, and visited hundreds of Filipinos housed at the Seaport Hajj Terminal in Jeddah.
VP Binay and his delegation left the Kingdom from Jeddah on 5 April.