Plans are afoot for President Rodrigo Duterte to visit UAE, where he won by a landslide in last May’s general elections, reliable sources from the Philippines and the local Filipino community have revealed.
The necessary paper works have been forwarded to the UAE government last week as a matter of protocol. Malacanang is expected to make an official announcement about the trip expected to take place in the last week of January 2017, still according to well-placed sources.
“May planong bumisita,” a Philippine official said requesting anonymity . “It’s about time. The UAE is a very important partner. The last time a Philippine president was officially here was in 2008,” the official said, referring to the visit of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was received by President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The UAE had expressed hope Arroyo’s visit would boost friendly ties between the Philippines and UAE. The two leaders conferred on a range of issues including bilateral cooperation on issues of mutual concern. There are approximately 750,000 Filipinos in the UAE.
Duterte got 51,879 – or 83.5 percent – of the total 62,103 actual votes cast in the UAE during the 2016 May presidential election. Actual voters’ turnout was 31.74 percent of 195,651 registered voters, according to the Philippine Embassy.
Mar Roxas, the administration’s bet got the second highest votes, which was far behind at 3,985; the late former Sen. Miriam Defensor- Santiago got 3,483; Grace Poe, 1708 and Jejomar Binay, 786.