9 pacts inked as Qatar head visits PH

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9 pacts inked as Qatar head visits PH

By: - Reporter /
/ 05:20 AM April 23, 2024

Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. during a welcome ceremony at the Kalayaan grounds of Malacañang complex in Manila on Monday, April 22, 2024. | PHOTO: KJ ROSALES/PPA POOL

Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. during a welcome ceremony at the Kalayaan grounds of Malacañang complex in Manila on Monday, April 22, 2024. KJ ROSALES/PPA POOL

MANILA, Philippines — The governments of the Philippines and Qatar on Monday forged an agreement to waive visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and official passports to make travel to either country easier for parties on official missions.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) covers valid diplomatic and official passports for the Philippines while those covered for Qatar will be valid diplomatic and special passports, according to a statement released by Malacañang.

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The waiver of visa requirements was one of nine agreements signed by the two countries, coinciding with the official visit of Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Manila.

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The signed agreements were presented at the bilateral meeting between President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sheikh Tamim at Malacañang Palace.

Marcos cited Qatar’s importance as it hosts an estimated 242,609 overseas Filipino workers, which accounted for about $895.33 million (P51.4 billion) in foreign remittances in 2022.

“This is our aspiration and I think if we agree that this is the way to go, there is much potential that we can take advantage of,” he told Sheikh Tamim.

Under the MOU, the two nations will facilitate the travel of their nationals who are on official missions for their respective governments, taking into consideration the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.

30-day stay

“Nationals of either party who are holders of valid passport types mentioned are exempted from the obligation to obtain visas for entry and stay in the territory of the other party, for a stay of 30 days,” the MOU read in part.

The other signed agreements covered cooperation on combating human trafficking, protecting seafarers’ welfare, and promoting exchange programs on tourism, sports, youth development and climate change.

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Both sides also agreed to “apply the certificates of seafarers who serve on registered merchant ships of any of the participants and sail under its flag.”

Other MOUs signed were between the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and between the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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