Noli opens embassy in Syria

PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — VICE President and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) Noli de Castro led the opening of the Philippine Embassy in Syria which will serve thousands of Filipinos working there.

“With 17,000 Filipinos in Syria, the establishment of a new embassy here in Damascus, could not have come at a more opportune time,” said De Castro.

The Philippine Embassy in Damascus was inaugurated last April 13, 2009.

“This event is a milestone in the diplomatic relations between our two countries. I hope Syria will also consider establishing its embassy in Manila in the near future,” De Castro said.

The Vice President likewise hopes the Philippine government will soon sign a bilateral labor agreement that will ensure the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and maintain the quality of their services.

De Castro thanked the Syrian Government for agreeing to convene the first RP-Syria bilateral consultation in Manila this year.

He cited the importance of Syria in the Middle East region with “its energy resources and fertile lands that contribute to a strong petroleum industry and dynamic agricultural sector.”

Philippine Ambassador to Syria Wilfredo Cuyugan and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Special Concerns Rafael Seguis also attended the inauguration.

Syrian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmad Arnous and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Faysal Mekdad represented the Syrian government.

De Castro was on a five-day official visit to the United Arab Emirates and Syria where he held dialogues with OFWs based in Dubai and Syria and held bilateral meetings with Syrian government officials.