Philippine president arrives in Riyadh

Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte makes a speech during the Philippines-China Trade and Investment Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in this file photo taken on October 20, 2016. (AFP)
Updated 10 April 2017

Philippine president arrives in Riyadh

RIYADH: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrived here Monday on a three-day visit to meet Saudi leaders for investment, trade and support for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom.
Duterte and some 40 officials from various ministries were received by Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar.
Saudi Arabia is the first leg of Duterte’s Gulf tour. He will visit Bahrain from Wednesday through Friday, and Qatar from Friday through Sunday. He is scheduled to meet King Salman, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
A statement from the presidential office said the state visits aim “to strengthen efforts for the protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare of the more than 1 million of our people working in those countries; invite Middle Eastern investors to the Philippines to usher in progress here at home; and to forge stronger partnerships by elevating our political and economic cooperation with these countries to new heights.”
There are about 760,000 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, 60,000 in Bahrain and 250,000 in Qatar. Duterte will meet with their representatives in Riyadh, Manama and Doha.
The Middle East, mainly the Gulf countries, is the second-largest source of remittances, with 28 percent or almost $7.6 billion sent to the Philippines in 2016 alone.
In the three countries, Duterte will “explore partnerships in tourism development, halal food security, Islamic finance, energy security and investments,” said Hjayceelyn Quintana of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.
“He will invite these countries to invest particularly in Mindanao as a way of lifting Mindanao out of poverty and conflict” between the army and Filipino Muslim rebels.
Abdul Gani Macatoman, co-chairman of the Foreign Chamber Council and a member of the presidential team, told Arab News that Duterte will focus on attracting foreign investments to his country’s halal industry.
Abdul Hanan Tago, a special envoy from the Philippines Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), said seven memoranda of understanding (MoUs) will be signed during the presidential visit. PEZA Director-General Charito Plaza is slated to sign the deals with members of the private sector in the Kingdom.


The Hajjana: heritage of Saudi Arabia’s camel riding border patrol honored

Updated 23 min 23 sec ago

The Hajjana: heritage of Saudi Arabia’s camel riding border patrol honored

The Hajjana — fearless camel riders who patrolled the Kingdom’s borders — helped pave the way for the establishment of the modern Saudi state.
Their story goes back almost 90 years when a Hajjana border patrol was established during the reign of King Abdul Aziz in 1933.
After the Kingdom’s founder reclaimed Al-Ahsa, he ordered sea and land patrols to be carried out to tighten security in the region’s border areas.
Patrols were led by camel riders, so a military sector was formed at that time known as Hajjana. Its name was derived from their means of transport — camels.
Now, nine decades later, the Camel Club has established the Royal Hajjana to commemorate the group’s distinguished cultural heritage.
Since its creation in April, the Royal Hajjana has been preparing to take part in official reception ceremonies for King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s guests as well as national festivals sponsored by the king and crown prince.
It will also perform in Saudi heritage shows and represent the Kingdom in local and international camel festivals.
Hajjana officers became famous throughout the country after acquiring their name from the “hejin,” or camel. They protected the Kingdom’s residents from the south of the Empty Quarter to north of the Nafud Desert.
One of the founding king’s priorities was to provide security and protect the nation’s borders, so the Border Guard was among the first military sectors created.
The Coast Guard’s budget also included allocations for Hajjana officers, known as the Hajjana patrol commanders, whose role was part of the Frontier Corps.
Patrols continued to operate in southern regions until recently. However, the memory of the Hajjana remains fresh in the minds of the Kingdom’s border guards.