Duterte arrives in Saudi Arabia for state visit

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in Riyadh late Monday evening, April 10 (Riyadh time), for a two-day state visit that aims to boost ties between the two countries.

Duterte arrived in Saudi Arabia at 9:43 pm, Riyadh time, or 2:43 am of Tuesday, April 11, in Manila.

Philippine Consul General to Riyadh Iric Arribas said the Philippines and Saudi Arabia aim to forge at least 3 agreements during Duterte's visit.

These deals include the following:

Arribas also said the Philippines wants to enlist Saudi Arabia's help against the illegal drug trade. This is one of the topics that the embassy proposed to take up during Duterte's state visit. 

Saudi Arabia is known for its hardline stance against illegal drugs. (READ: OFW supporter: Duterte will kill for peace? Same in Saudi Arabia

Arribas said the two countries, for one, can help each other in the "sharing of intelligence information" and in "capacity building of anti-drug enforcement agencies."

"When you talk about drugs, it's not just a domestic issue. It's a transnational issue," Arribas explained.

Duterte's schedule in Saudi Arabia includes a meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, April 12, Duterte is set to meet the Filipino community in Riyadh before flying to Bahrain then Qatar. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.