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Duterte thanks UAE for Covid-19 assistance
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MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces, for his country’s assistance to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the Philippines, specifically in the Bangsamoro.

In an official statement from the Office of the President (OP), Duterte extended his gratitude to the Crown Prince in a telephone conversation on Tuesday.

“The President thanked the Crown Prince for the UAE’s Covid-19 assistance of seven metric tons of medical supplies, personal protective equipment and 100,000 doses of Hayat Vax vaccines that boosted vaccination in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM),” the statement read.

The BARMM is the Muslim-majority autonomous region in the Philippines.

“We look forward to further working closely with the UAE as we continue addressing the challenges of the pandemic,” Duterte was quoted saying.

Duterte and the Crown prince also renewed commitment to further strengthen the Philippines-UAE bilateral relations.

The President congratulated the UAE on its 50th Founding Anniversary and expressed appreciation for the care and concern for the almost 600,000 Filipinos residing in the UAE.

Meanwhile, Duterte conveyed sincere regrets for being unable to proceed with the planned visit to the UAE to personally ensure that domestic measures to address Covid-19 remain robust in the face of emerging variants.

He reiterated his wish to undertake the visit to “a great country under a ruler known for his equanimity” when circumstances allow.

Duterte also conveyed his regards to His Highness Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

Planned visit

The Crown Prince, for his part, said he looked forward to a visit by Duterte at the most opportune time even in his personal capacity.

He said he is honored to speak with Duterte and happy to note the growth of the UAE-Philippines “bilateral relations to a level both sides can be proud of.”

The Crown prince assured Duterte that the UAE government will continue to take care of Filipino nationals residing in the country in the best way it can.

He said the UAE benefits from the skills of Filipino workers and is happy to have them.

Duterte likewise congratulated the Crown Prince for his country’s ongoing successful hosting of the World Expo 2020 Dubai.

“Your successful hosting of the Expo 2020 Dubai, where the Philippines is an active participant, is proof that Covid-19 can be overcome. The UAE is showing the world how it should be done,” Duterte said.

Terrorism and violent extremism

Meanwhile, both the President and Crown Prince expressed solidarity in the face of continuing threats posed by terrorism and violent extremism.

Duterte emphasized the Philippines’ commitment to “international cooperation in combatting terrorism by all means in accordance with international law.”

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, similarly known by his initials, MbZ, is the son of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, “Father of the Nation” and the first President of the UAE, and the brother of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.

He is married to Her Highness Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, and has four sons and five daughters. (PNA)

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