Philippines-Oman mark 40 years of diplomatic relations

Muscat: The Philippines celebrated on Tuesday its 40 years of strong diplomatic relations with the Sultanate of Oman which started on October 6, 1980.

Philippines’ Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said that Filipinos witness the rise of Oman with its significant development in four decades. He said, “when the Philippines established diplomatic relations with Oman, overseas Filipinos in Oman were few and the Philippine non resident ambassador was based in Riyadh. Since then relations have rapidly expanded, reflected in large part by Oman’s rapid growth and modernisation.

Today, the Sultanate hosts almost 50,000 Filipinos exemplifying the Filipino brand of honesty, hard work, dedication and making themselves helpful wherever they are welcome.” The Philippines
established its embassy in Muscat in 1992 having served with seven Ambassadors since then, with the latest Ambassador, HE Imelda M Panolong.

Secretary Locsin added, “the Philippines and Oman have diplomatic missions in their respective capitals — a sign of our very close friendship. In fact, HE Munther al Mantheri, the current Omani Ambassador to the Philippines, is the acting dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Manila having started his tour of duty in 2013.”

The services agreement between the two countries has enabled Oman Air to operate a daily flight between Manila and Muscat, directly for overseas Filipinos convenience, enabling more people-to-people exchanges, trade and commerce. In 2019, $85 million of goods were traded between the two countries, with 4,500 Omanis visited the Philippines. Also last year, the Philippines resumed imports of Omani Export Blend crude, lifting the exports of Omani crude overseas.

The Secretary also thanked the Omani government’s effort during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said, “Oman’s timely intervention enabled the safe return of overseas Filipinos to their families in the pandemic. We deeply appreciate this acts of generosity and humanity which marked true friendship in a time of need. When I visited Muscat I dropped in on two Philippine Navy ships of the Philippine Naval Task Force Contingent on standby to give support if the repatriation of Filipinos became necessary. I'm grateful that the Sultanate allowed them to dock and for quite a
long time.”

Early this year, Philippine Navy ships BRP Davao del Sur, a landing platform dock vessel, and BRP Ramon Alcaraz, an offshore patrol vessels were docked at Sultan Qaboos Port in Muscat to process the overseas Filipino workers’ repatriation papers, attend to their medical needs and take them home. It also served as a temporary accommodation to distressed OFWs in the Middle East.

Secretary Locsin expressed his gratitude to Oman and looks forward to continue forming strong relations between the two countries. “I am pleased and honored to express my sincerest appreciation to the Omani government and the people of Oman for the 40 years of friendship a we recall the past, cultivate the present and look forward to the future of Philippines-Oman relations. Under the leadership of HM Sultan Haitham bin Tariq and the new Foreign Minister HE Sayyid Badr al Busaidi, the coming years will surely usher in more cooperation between our
countries and further deepen our friendship.”