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Envoy to facilitate visit of new Philippine president to Qatar

Ailyn Agonia


As Filipino nationals across the globe eagerly wait for the final results of the 2016 Philippine national elections, Philippine Ambassador to Qatar HE Wilfredo Santos has expressed keenness on facilitating the official visit of the newly-elected president of the Philippines to Doha.

On Monday, the Philippine Embassy in Doha officially closed the month-long overseas absentee voting (OAV) in Qatar with a notable 35.02 percent voters turnout equivalent to 15, 695 voters.

The figure, the envoy confirmed, is the second highest turnout in the GCC after Bahrain and the third highest in the MENA Region. It is also deemed the highest voter turnout ever achieved in the history of OAV conducted in Qatar.

The envoy said,"Bilaterally, it is the turn of the leadership of the Philippines to come to Doha since the last time there was an official visit from the side of Qatar when HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani visited Manila in 2012.

"In preparation for the possible visit of the new president of the Philippines, we are already talking to the Qatari government about signing of several agreements, including on health, education, culture, visa waiver and mutual protection of investments which is very important.

"What I intend to do in working this out with Qatari government is for us to convene a joint commission (JC) on bilateral cooperation which will be a body that will effect the signing of these agreements. At the same time, once this JC is convened, we can have a framework when we can regularly meet with the Qatari side to discuss important issues of concern between our two countries."

Official announcement of the 16th president of the Philippines, including the country's new vice-president and 12 members of the Senate is expected soon.

In this light, Ambassador Santos urged his compatriots to set aside their political differences and unite behind the new leadership of the Southeast Asian country which, he said, has achieved a higher economic growth under the Aquino administration.

"We have to unite behind our new leader whoever the elected president is. The time for all politicking is over. Personally, I expect the new leaders of the Philippines not only to effect improvements in the lives of our people but also to carry out their promises of improving the nationals' welfare and improving the country's economic conditions," the envoy added.

Santos also lauded the organised and positive conduct of elections in Doha with the support of the community in the important political exercise that would chart the future of the Philippines.


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