ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Jordan 2019 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

Similar histories make Jordan and the Philippines compelling business partners. Both countries are now discussing ways to further expand cooperation in multiple areas of governance.

Rodrigo Roa Duterte
BIOGRAPHY
Rodrigo Roa Duterte is a Filipino politician who is the 16th and current President of the Republic of the Philippines. President Duterte studied political science at the Lyceum of the Philippines University, graduating in 1968, before obtaining a law degree from San Beda College of Law in 1972. He then worked as a lawyer and was a prosecutor for Davao City before becoming vice mayor and, subsequently, mayor of the city in the wake of the Philippine Revolution of 1986. President Duterte was among the longest-serving mayors in the Philippines, serving seven terms and totaling more than 22 years in office.

We live in a world of commerce and industry. And as part of humanity, we are all in agreement that we want to live in a world that is peaceful. We want food and clean water for everyone and an environment that can sustainably support all of the earth's inhabitants. All of these things are aspirations that no individual or nation can claim exclusively. We have to work as a team. We have to reach out to people for better understanding. The connectivity that is desired for commerce and work includes human resources. Whether citizens or not, all members of the labor force deserve the same protection and the same degree of treatment as a human beings.

We have two labor agreements that will enhance the standards of protection for Filipinos employed as household service workers in Jordan and regulate labor deployment, exchanges, and communication and further studies on labor. As I have repeatedly said, our government will continue to do its part to ensure that the rights of our nationals working abroad are protected, enhanced, and upheld.

We have also concluded a number of government-to-government and business-to-business sector agreements. Investments generated are valued at over USD140 million and expected to generate over 1,200 new jobs. This, we believe, is only the beginning. Together with HM King Abdullah's Cabinet, we are discussing ways to expand cooperation in two-way trade and investment, human resource development, interfaith dialog, tourism, and other areas of governance. Trade and other similar missions will be launched to give greater impetus to these efforts.

My country is relatively young. We gained our independence from the Spaniards and then Americans, who ruled us for 400 years and 50 years, respectively. We were colonized for so long that along the way, we lost our identity as a race belonging to the Malay. What is true in Asia is true here in the Middle East. Nevertheless, we move on and continue to build our nations for generations to come. I was mayor of my city for more than 22 years, and I was a member of Congress and a vice mayor. By the time I complete my presidency, I will have served my country for 40 years. Our similar histories make Jordan and the Philippines compelling business partners, and I see many opportunities for increasing economic and investment ties. We are peaceful nations with talented manpower.

There are several opportunities for foreign investors in the Philippines as we have a large population with growing demand for goods and services. Moreover, much like Jordan, we are increasing the ease of doing business. As we reaffirm the Philippines' position in maintaining and promoting peace and stability in the region and pursue our independent foreign policy, we are showing that the Philippines is, indeed, a friend to all and an enemy to no one.