By Darryl John Esguerra

MALACAÑANG VISIT. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos welcome His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, at Malacañang Palace on Tuesday (June 4, 2024). During their meeting, President Marcos and Sheikh Abdullah expressed interest in strengthening the relations between the two countries. (Malacañang Press Corps)

MANILA – The Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are looking to strengthen their bilateral relations, with the Middle Eastern country hinting at increased investments in Manila.

During his courtesy call on President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos at Malacañang Palace Tuesday, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, conveyed the Arab country’s interest to “do more trade” in the Philippines.

“Our relationship is growing, but not enough. We could do much better. It could be much better because I think we have an interest to further enhance it. But also the Philippines has shown that it’s been welcoming investors, we would like to do more trade, and to finalize and sit down with the Philippines,” Sheikh Abdullah told the President.

Sheikh Abdullah also thanked migrant Filipinos workers’ contribution to the UAE.

Data from the Department of Foreign Affairs showed there are around 648,000 Filipinos in the UAE as of January 2020.

Meanwhile, Marcos acknowledged the “close relationship” of the Philippines and the UAE, and expressed openness to deepen the two countries’ cooperation.

“We extend that relationship further and make it deeper,” he said.

The President also thanked the UAE government for its “assistance and kindness” to the Philippines and the Filipino people.

“And I hope that we are able to reciprocate somehow because we are very grateful for the assistance that you have done in terms of the crisis (that we face here) in the Philippines and then, especially to our Filipino nationals who are working in the Emirates,” he said. (PNA)