27 March 2012 – President Benigno S. Aquino III and His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah witnessed on March 23 the signing of three agreements and one executive program whereby both countries agreed to further strengthen cooperation in the fields of labor, agriculture and fisheries, consular relations and culture.
“These agreements illustrate the growing relations between the Philippines and Kuwait and complement the thrust of the Aquino administration in bolstering economic ties and ensuring the safety and welfare of Filipino workers,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario said.
The Philippines and Kuwait signed the Memorandum of Understading (MOU) in the Field of Labor Cooperation which encourages both countries to share expertise and knowledge in the field of job creation and employment, promotes and protects the welfare of skilled workers in accordance with existing laws and regulations.
The agreement on agriculture and fisheries fosters sectoral development and enhances agri-related trade and investment in the areas of crops technology, vegetable and fruit preservation, biotechnology, post-harvest technology, livestock and fisheries, coastal and deep sea management, irrigation and water resources and the halal industry, among others.
Secretary del Rosario signed the Agreement on the Waiver of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic, Special and Official Passports which will facilitate exchange of high-level visits between the Philippines and Kuwait.
The Executive Program for Cultural Agreement for 2012-2014 promotes the exchange of information, experience and materials in the field of culture and the arts to enhance knowledge and understanding of each other’s culture. It is the implementing mechanism for the Cultural Agreement signed on 14 September 1997.
During the bilateral meeting, both sides expressed their satisfaction at the growing number of Kuwaiti investments in the Philippines and agreed to explore new areas of economic cooperation through the activation of projects and joint agreements between the two countries.
Both sides noted the promising performance of Kuwaiti investments in the Philippines which include Kuwait and Gulf Link’s (KGL) $2 billion, 177- hectare aviation-oriented logistics and business center in Clark, Pampanga and KGL’s acquisition of Negros Navigation and Intishar’s banana plantation in Davao.
The President and His Highness the Amir exchanged state decorations in recognition of the deepening and strengthened bilateral relations. The President conferred the Order of Lakandula, rank of Grand Collar (Supremo) on His Highness while the President received from the Amir the Mubarak al Kabeer medal.
As of December 2011, there are an estimated 146,505 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait, 51,579 of whom are considered skilled and semi-skilled workers. END