PHILIPPINES’ newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte will make Brunei Darussalam his first stop on his first trip abroad as the republic’s head of state, the Philippines’ Presidential Palace announced recently.
Duterte will make a two-day trip to the Sultanate from September 4, as part of his week-long tour around Southeast Asia.
After Brunei, Duterte will fly to Vientiane, Laos to attend the Asean Summit from September 6-8 and will then travel to Jakarta, Indonesia.
During a press conference recently, Duterte said he plans to personally thank His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for taking care of the many Filipinos currently working in the country.
The president also said that he might meet with the Filipino workers while in Brunei.
There are approximately 23,000 Filipinos working in Brunei, including in the professional sector.
Meynardo L Montealegre, Philippine Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam recently said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to outline the basic conditions such as minimum wage, working hours and benefits is still in progress and that a working group has been established to draft the agreement.
In February 2015, the Philippine Overseas Labour Office issued an advisory barring its overseas missions from approving new contracts which fall below the minimum wage threshold set by the Philippine Government.