Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert E.A. Borje departs for Saudi Arabia Friday for an official visit to the Kingdom aimed at enhancing bilateral ties, advancing labor reform cooperation and ensuring the welfare of Filipinos in the Arab country.
The visit is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of Kalinga at Malasakit for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Special Envoy and other members of the Philippine delegation are expected to meet with officials of the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD), the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, and other relevant Saudi agencies.
PAFA Borje is also expected to convey President Duterte’s key messages on the importance of the partnership and cooperation between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
As Special Envoy, PAFA Borje has been tasked by President Duterte to deliver a letter addressed to His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
In December 2020, the President congratulated King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and described Saudi Arabia’s Labor Reform Initiative (LRI) as a landmark initiative seen to benefit migrant workers in the Kingdom, including Overseas Filipino Workers.
In May this year, President Duterte spoke with His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud via phone and both renewed the commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations, including in trade and investments, as well as to intensify cooperation in migrant workers’ rights.
The delegation will also meet the officials of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and the Philippine Consulate-General in Jeddah as well as the members of the Filipino community there.
At the same time, the high-level delegation will also oversee repatriation missions for Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joining the mission are Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola and Presidential Communications Operations Assistant Secretary for Global Media and Public Affairs JV Arcena.
This is PAFA Borje’s second designation as Special Envoy to Saudi Arabia. President Duterte previously appointed him as Special Envoy to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia in 2019. PND