AMMAN, Jordan — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte met with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan on Thursday, September 6.
On the second day of his official visit here, the President was accorded a welcome ceremony at the Al Husseinieh Palace Courtyard.
President Duterte and King Abdullah II inspected the Guard of Honor during the ceremony.
After this, the two leaders proceeded with their tete-a-tete and a restricted meeting.
The meeting was followed by an official working lunch at the Dining Hall between President Duterte and King Abdullah II, together with the members of the Philippine delegation and their Jordanian counterparts.
In his remarks, King Abdullah II expressed confidence that the visit of President Duterte “will really give us a momentum into the future on so many fields” and will propel the two nations “into the next stage.”
“And I believe that this is a new era of cooperation, as we have discussed privately, that has already been on many levels,” he said.
The King also expressed hopes of visiting Manila along with government officials and the Jordanian private sector to look into the “tremendous opportunities” in the Philippines.
“And I hope that this is an opportunity for me then to be able to come back to visit your country, not only with our government officials but to bring the Jordanian private sector to also look at the tremendous opportunities that your country has to offer,” he said.
According to the King, the “scourge of terrorism” is one of the main things that bind the Philippines and Jordan together as it is “a challenge for our region and your region, for your country and my country.”
“And again over the past several months, if not the past year or two, the cooperation between our two countries to fight the evil that you have to suffer in your country as we suffer in ours, I think, is a testament to the international cooperation and coordination that is now becoming much more apparent because this is an issue that’s going to last with us not only for the next five to 10, 15 years,” he noted.
For his part, President Duterte concurred that “it will take us a lot more years to stop” terrorism.
“And of course, our concern against terrorism brings us here. Well, of course, as we have discussed, the arms would be of great help. If there’s any value, it is the friendship that goes with it,” he said in his remarks.
Meanwhile, the President reiterated that apart from enhancing the two nations’ bilateral relations, the Filipino people remain to be his main priority in the Middle East.
“I would like to assure you that we have come here to pledge our friendship, our cooperation to you. And our national interest here in the Middle East, mostly…the thousands of Filipinos,” President Duterte mentioned to the King.
President Duterte then expressed gratitude to the King for his benevolence, and his appreciation extends to the people of Jordan for hosting Filipino workers here, and for treating them “very well.”
During the official working lunch, King Abdullah II mentioned the agreements signed on Thursday morning, which are seen not just to advance the relations between the two governments but also strengthen the people-to-people ties as well.
One of the agreements inked was the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Political Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Jordan and the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines.
The MOU aims to establish a Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, which will facilitate consultations in all aspects of the bilateral relations and the exchange of views on bilateral and international issues of mutual interest, and evaluate the development of their cooperation as well as the need to expand it to other areas.
Also, signed was the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation between the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army and the Department of National Defense of the Philippines, which is expected to provide a framework for cooperation in the field of defense, by reciprocity and mutual benefit.
Under the agreement, the two nations will work together on:
Defense and Security Policy; Defense and Military Education Training and Capacity Building; Peacekeeping Operations; Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief; Logistics and Maintenance; Armaments and Military Equipment; Defense Industry and Technology; Research and Development; and any other areas as may be mutually decided.
Furthermore, another agreement inked was between Jordan Maritime Commission and the Maritime Industry Authority of the Philippines concerning the Recognition of Certificates under the Terms of the 1978 STCW (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) Convention.
This deal sets the standards on seafarers’ training, certification, and watchkeeping practices.
Also signed was the Cooperation Framework on Employment of Domestic Workers, which renews the 2010 agreement on the employment of Filipino domestic workers and sets the perimeters to ensure the protection and promotion of the rights and welfare of Filipino workers in Jordan.
The MOU on Labor Cooperation between Jordan and the Philippines that regulates labor deployment, exchanges, communication, and studies on labor and provides provisions to protect Filipino workers was also signed.
Also signed was the MOU between the Jordan Investment Commission and the Board of Investments of the Philippines, which aims to promote an exchange of information on investment environment and opportunities and share experiences in attracting foreign investment.
Among the officials present during the welcome ceremony were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Philippine Ambassador to Jordan Akmad Sakkam, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Special Assistant to the President Secretary Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Interior and Local Government Officer-In-Charge Eduardo Año, Presidential Adviser for Military Affairs Arthur Tabaquero, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella, and Senator Richard Gordon. ### PND