Duterte to sign labor, defense deals during Israel, Jordan visits

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech during the 120th Philippine navy anniversary celebration in Manila on May 22, 2018. — AFP

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte is expected to sign agreements on labor, defense, trade and investment, among others, when he visits Israel and Jordan next week, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Enersto C. Abella said.

In a briefing at the Palace on Thursday, Mr. Abella said Mr. Duterte is “undertaking historic visits on Sept. 2 to 8 to renew and expand ties with Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan upon invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan.”

With Israel, he said, “the areas of cooperation will be enhanced by the signing of the following agreements: Labor — a memorandum of agreement (MoA) on the employment of Filipino caregivers; Science — a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on scientific cooperation; and Investment — an MoU between the Board of Investments and [its counterpart] in Israel.”

Mr. Abella added: “We are elevating our relationship with the Kingdom with the first ever visit of a Filipino President to Jordan on the 6th to the 8th of September 2018.”

He said the areas of cooperation to be enhanced are: “Labor — agreement on the employment of domestic workers; and also an MoU on labor cooperation, we expect improvement of working conditions of Filipino domestic workers bound for Jordan. Next, Defense — MoU on defense cooperation, we expect an upgrade of the country’s defense capabilities; Foreign Affairs — political consultations on trade and investments, we are expecting an investment agreement with Jordan Investment Commission.”


The two countries will also mutually recognize “STCW or Standards of Training and Certification of Watchkeepers for Seafarers,” he added.

He said the expanded relationship with Jordan is in line with the government’s “friends to all, enemies to none” foreign policy, Mr. Abella said, adding: “The Philippines hopes to do its part in promoting peace and stability in the region.”

“Strengthening ties with these nations will promote economic growth, create new employment opportunities and enhance security. A closer relationship with these nations means more opportunity to share expertise with each other in the fields of science, agriculture, industry and counter terrorists,” he added.

Mr. Abella said the MoU with Jordan on labor and employment will establish proper procedures for the recruitment, deployment, and arrival of Filipino workers through licensed Jordanian recruitment firms in partnership with licensed Philippine recruitment agencies.

“The agreement provides that the recruitment and employment of Filipino domestic workers will be governed by a standard employment contract and other measures that will ensure the protection of the rights and welfare of workers,” he said. — Arjay L. Balinbin