PH-SAUDI TIES. President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (left) receives Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud (right), Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, in a courtesy call at Malacañan Palace on Thursday (Sept. 29, 2022). Prince Faisal also met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo. (Photos from RTVM)

MANILA – President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Thursday received Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, in a courtesy call at Malacañan Palace.

State-run Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), on its official Facebook page, uploaded a short video of the meeting between Marcos and Prince Faisal.

Prince Faisal also signed a guest book at the Malacañang Palace, based on the video.

The Palace has yet to disclose details about their meeting.

The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in the Philippines also shared photos of the meeting between Marcos and Prince Faisal on its Twitter account.

The Saudi Foreign Minister conveyed greetings of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Marcos wishing for his “continued success.”

“During the reception, they reviewed the bilateral relations between the two friendly countries based on cordiality, friendship, and joint cooperation in various fields,” the embassy said.

Joining the President in the courtesy call were Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Presidential Management Staff Secretary Ma. Zenaida Angping.

Secretary for Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo meets with H.H. Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (DFA photo by Philip Fernandez)

Prince Faisal arrived in the Manila on Wednesday night before meeting Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo and Marcos.

The DFA said Prince Faisal affirmed Riyadh's commitment to deepening cooperation with the Philippines.

In a meeting with Manalo, the two top diplomats discussed "opportunities to further economic cooperation" in support of Manila and Riyadh's development goals.

The DFA said the two officials also discussed numerous areas of cooperation to strengthen bilateral ties.

"Secretary Manalo expressed his appreciation for the Foreign Minister’s visit, noting that the depth of Philippine-Kingdom of Saudi Arabi bilateral relations can be seen in numerous high-level visits and active partnership in various sectors," the DFA said.

Prince Faisal, for his part, said the Kingdom is ready to continue working hand-in-hand with the Philippines on issues of mutual interest.

Saudi Arabia is home to approximately 860,000 Filipino workers, the largest number in the Middle East.

Previously, the two nations partnered on tackling labor mobility and human rights. Last May 2022, the two together with Bahrain organized a conference on the sidelines of the International Migration Review Forum, discussing migration policy innovations and ways to ensure decent work for migrant workers.

The diplomatic relationship between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia was established in October 1969, according to the DFA.

In 1973, the Republic of the Philippines appointed Ambassador Liningding Pangandaman as its first resident ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Earlier on the same day, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe also paid a courtesy call on Marcos in Malacañan Palace.

Marcos said he discussed with Wickremesinghe the holding of this year’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit and Related Summits, as well as the possible creation of a monitoring and regulatory body in charge of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The 40th and 41st Asean Summit and Related Summits will be held in November this year.

Meanwhile, RCEP is the world’s largest free trade agreement (FTA) that provides simplicity in trade relations with its uniform terms and conditions among Asean member-states Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam and their FTA partners China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. (PNA)