Philippines ambassador: Duterte planning to visit Qatar next year


President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines will likely visit Qatar in the first half of 2017, the country’s ambassador to Qatar has said.

Speaking to the Qatar Tribune, Ambassador Wilfredo Santos said the embassy was told to prepare for a visit from the nation’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

This will then lay the groundwork for Duterte’s trip to Qatar.

“It has been four years since the last high-level visit between the two countries. It is time for the president of the Philippines to visit Qatar which is an economic powerhouse,” Santos told the newspaper.

Duterte this week came under fire after a United Nations official said he should be investigated for murder.

The comment from the UN high commissioner for human rights came after Duterte recently remarked that he had shot and killed three men as mayor of Davao.

Despite the controversy he draws, the official has strong support in Qatar, where the majority of expats cast their overseas ballots for him.

Growing community

When he arrives, there will be much to discuss regarding Qatar’s third-largest demographic community, behind Indians and Nepalis.

There are now more than 220,000 Filipinos in Qatar, an 18 percent increase from last year.

This is in part due to Qatar’s dependence on domestic labor. But job contracts in other categories are also being approved in high numbers, officials previously said.

According to Santos, education, culture, health and tourism will all be on the agenda during Duterte’s visit.


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