TODAY, June 17, 2020 marks the 40th Anniversary of the formal establishment of diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Philippines.
The UAE was established on December 2, 1972comprised of seven emirates, such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Umm Al-Quwain, and Ajman.
Since its establishment, the UAE has pursued a foreign policy based on principles of mutual respect, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, peaceful settlement of disputes, promotion of peace, stability, and security in the regional and international arenas as set by the founding father, the late President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.
It has further become dynamic, effective and successful example through the vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The UAE built strategic relationships worldwide that influenced its national economy. It is also through these relationships that UAE strengthens its presence on both regional and international levels.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC), since its establishment, has represented Emirati society and has been its window to the outside world. Through its various embassies and missions worldwide, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs acts as a link between the UAE’s leadership and the people around the world. The Ministry is working towards strengthening the friendship and bilateral relationships between the UAE and other countries at various levels of political, economic and cultural fields.
UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. (Source: Gulf News)
The Diplomatic relationship between the UAE and the Republic of the Philippines was excellent even before the formal relation was established in June 17, 1980. This relationship has steadily progressed over the years and has reached its peak in 1989 when UAE finally opened its Diplomatic Mission in Manila. Since then, the trade between the two countries has significantly improved in terms of exportation of commodities and importation of goods, specifically petroleum products by the Philippines from the UAE. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations of the UAE and the Philippines.
UAE’s sincere effort of maintaining and nurturing its good bilateral relation with the Philippines is evident on the exchanges of high-level visits. In October 2010, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Foreign Minister of UAE, headed a high-level business delegation to the Philippines. Also notable is the visit of His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to support and grant wishes of children with severe sickness through the “Make A Wish Foundation” of the Philippines.
In February 2014, a business delegation headed by the UAE Minister of Economy, His Excellency Engineer Sultan bin Saeed Al-Mansouri, visited the Philippines for a Business Forum. It served as venue to promote and enhance trade relations between the UAE
and the Philippines. February of this year, the 3rd Political Consultations between UAE and the Philippines took place. It became a venue to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries as well as cooperation on economic and trade development, cultural, and security among others.
Efforts to further enhance the trade relation of UAE with the Philippines is not only limited to importation and exportation of goods. The aviation sector has also contributed significantly with this through opening direct flights to places outside Manila. This paved the way to explore investment and trade opportunities in other parts of the Philippines. Currently, the UAE has been granted 35 weekly flights for two of its Flag Carriers – Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways. In the same manner, Philippine flag carriers Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific, have been granted direct flight entitlements to UAE.
More than trade relations and economic partnership, UAE has also made its Development Aid an integral part of its foreign policy. This extends to various regions throughout the world covering countries in dire need of support to address poverty, resolve epidemics, and assist victims of natural disasters and political dispute or armed conflicts. Noteworthy are the efforts UAE has exerted to generously provide for victims of natural disasters in the Philippines.
Early this year, the UAE government through the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) has provided relief goods to displaced individuals caused by the eruption of Taal Volcano. Aside from relief operation and construction and rehabilitation projects, the ERC has extended financial support to Filipinos to aid with their medical needs. This is a way to show that UAE is driven to be inclusive and will continue to expand its reach in providing humanitarian assistance whether it is for a community, a group or an individual, regardless of religion or ethnicity.
UAE Ambassador to the Philippines Hamad Saeed Al-Zaabi (in coat and tie) during one of the UAE’s many distribution of assistance to Filipinos. (Source: UAE Embassy)
The UAE is one of the first countries to reach out and extend a helping hand to combat the novel corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic. It has started early planning of many humanitarian initiatives to help curb the spread of the virus. While the UAE continues its constant work of supporting the global efforts aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 disease, it has provided more than 708 tons of medical aid, personal protection kits and supplies to 62 countries worldwide to date, with direct beneficiaries exceeding 708,000 health workers. The Philippines is one of the partner countries provided for. Seven (7) Metric tons of assorted personal protective equipment and medical supplies were turned over by Ambassador Hamad Saeed Al-Zaabi to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. to support the Philippine government’s fight against Covid-19.
On this note, UAE expresses its earnest desire to strengthen the harmonious bilateral relation with the Philippines which will continuously be reinforced in the coming years.
Other than the provision of PPEs and medical supplies, the UAE government had its flag carriers operate direct, sponsored repatriation flights between the UAE and Philippines. This is UAE’s expression of its sincere intent to ensure safe repatriation of stranded Filipinos.
Aside from being a key economic partner and a benevolent donor, UAE has also become a host of approximately close to a million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The UAE has recognized the significant contribution of these OFWs to the economic growth of the country. The presence of the OFWs is felt not only in the sector of tourism and trade, but also in health, engineering, and human resource. It has become a host to almost a million Filipino workers and tourists. UAE has incessantly uphold its being inclusive and has continuously foster co-existence and tolerance to make better the lives of both citizens and foreign residents.
On this note, UAE expresses its earnest desire to strengthen the harmonious bilateral relation with the Philippines which will continuously be reinforced in the coming years. (UAE Embassy)