Philippine Government officials are here to represent the executive branch of the Philippine government on its 4th phase of discussion with their Saudi government counterpart on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 27 and 28 to be held at Riyadh Conference Palace Hall.
The Technical working committee of both sides will tackle areas of cooperation between Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as mandated by Article 7 of the General Agreement signed by both countries in 1994. The technical committee will finally discuss areas of cooperation in the field of trade, investments, labor, education, transportation and others.
This meeting is in continuance of the ongoing bilateral talks between KSA-Philippine Joint Technical Committee to consult each other and identify the measures and means in order to promote and consolidate particular areas of cooperation.
I hope that the two countries may arrive into a mutual stance that would benefit its citizenry and their respective countries in general. And in order to realize the outcome of this meeting, there should be a solid commitment from both sides to put whatever it is – into action.
Some important areas that should be concluded is how to expand its trade relations and study how to lessen the burden in facilitating trade exchange of both export products that enter their countries respectively. That includes setting up trade fairs to give way for new potentials of investments particularly in the field of agriculture and fisheries.
Student exchange is also one important factor that could inspire both countries educational schemes and exchange of experiences in new technologies such as seminars, workshops, technical and vocational training; as well as scientific and cultural symposia in their respective educational institutions, universities and research centers.
Security cooperation is also a crucial topic that should be addressed during the meeting. Possible collaboration on this regards, like information exchange related to security matters that threatens the safety of its countries and their nationals respectively.
The committee should come up a new agreement in the field of transportation such as the return of Philippine Airlines flight from Philippines to Saudi Arabia and vice versa in order to meet pressing demands of huge numbers of Filipino passengers. However, flights should be equally divided between SAUDIA and PAL and strip off unnecessary taxes currently imposed to airline companies on both sides of the fence.
Last but not the least, a bilateral labor agreement on the just concluded developments by both countries forging a new standard contract for Filipino Household Service Workers should be thoroughly implemented by way of redefining the rights and obligations of the Saudi Recruitment Agency (SRA) and the Philippine Recruitment Agency (PRA) in case one of the contracting party fails to perform, precisely and exactly, his/her obligations under the Standard Employment Contract.
Further, I hope that this committee meeting would pave the way for wrapping up the finalization of the Recruitment Agreement between SRA and the PRA. This agreement is needed in the resumption of the deployment of HSW in the Kingdom.
Lastly, if the KSA-Philippine Joint Technical Committee was able come up a standard contract for HSW, how come that the committee cannot crop up a one standard uniform contract for skilled Filipino workers** ?
** This particular contract could not be substituted with any other contract when the deployed worker arrive at site)
Well, good luck to our Philippine delegation and have a nice Saudi winter day ahead of you!