PH - UAE Diplomatic History
The Philippines and the United Arab Emirates established diplomatic relations on 19 August 1974.
On 17 June 1980, the Philippine Government opened its diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi. The Embassy premises, located at Janana Building along Electra Street in the Khalidiya Area, was headed by a Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i. (i.e., Consul Alberto A. Encomienda, from 1980 to 1983, then Minister and Consul General Antonio L. Ramirez, from 1983 to 1986). The Government of the United Arab Emirates opened its Embassy in the Philippines on 12 December 1989 at the Century Park Hotel, Manila.
The first resident Philippine Ambassador to the UAE was Isabelo J. Astraquillo (1986-89). He was succeeded by the following: Fortunato D. Oblena (1989-94), Roy V. Señeres (1994-98), Amable R. Aguiluz III (1998-2003), Libran N. Cabactulan (2003-2009), Grace Relucio Princesa (2009-2015) and Constancio R. Vingno, Jr. (2015-2018).
H.E. Hjayceelyn M. Quintana is the current Philippine Ambassador to the UAE. She assumed her duties as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Arab Emirates on 20 August 2018. The Embassy of UAE in Manila is currently headed by a Chargé d’Affaires, Sheikh Saoud Ali Al Mualla.
On 09 April 2004, the Philippines opened a Consulate General in Dubai headed by Mr. Generoso G. Calonge. The Consulate General transferred to its new premises in the Al Qusais district on 28 September 2006 during the term of Consul General Antonio S. Curameng. The current Consul General in Dubai is Hon. Paul Raymund P. Cortes.
Bilateral Agreements | Existing Agreements
- Philippines-UAE Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Establishment of the Joint Committee on Consular Affairs: Signed on 07 April 2021 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) in Abu Dhabi, UAE. H.E. Amb Hjayceelyn M. Quintana signed for the Philippines while H.E. Faisal Eissa Lutfi, Assistant Undersecretary for Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) signed for the United Arab Emirates.
- 3rd PH-UAE Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) under the Memorandum of Understanding on Labor Cooperation and Annex Protocol on Domestic Workers: The meeting agreed on the resumption of regular deployment of HSWs to the UAE which was suspended since 2014. Record of Discussion signed between DOLE Undersecretary Claro A. Arellano and MOHRE Undersecretary Saif Ahmed Alsuwaidi in Mandaluyong City, Philippines on 2 March 2021;
- PH-UAE Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Combating Human Trafficking: Signed between Foreign Affairs Secretary Hon. Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., and His Highness United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the sidelines of the 74th UN General Assembly on 26 September 2019;
- MOU on Labor Cooperation (Annex Protocol on Domestic Workers): Signed on 12 September 2017 in Abu Dhabi. Ratified by President Duterte on 08 March 2018. PH has notified UAE of the completion of its domestic requirements and is awaiting the same from the UAE in order for the MOU to enter into force.
- Protocol on Domestic Workers Annexed to the Memorandum of Understanding on Labor Cooperation. Memorandum 03949 dated 27 February 2018, OMEAA transmitted the original copy of the Protocol on Domestic Workers (Annexed to the MOU on Labor) signed by DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III and DOLE Undersecretary Claro M. Arellano. Post was informed that the Implementing Guidelines has already been signed by MOHRE Minister Nasser bin Thani Al Hameli in its fax dated 06 March 2018. Post is following up the copy of the signed Implementing Guidelines with MOHRE and MOFAIC (AUH-M-37-2018 dated 02 April 2018).
- MOU for Cooperation in the Field of Technical Vocational Education and Training between the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TEDA) and the National Qualifications Authority (NQA): Signed by Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Constancio R. Vingno, Jr. and Assistant Foreign Minister for Human Rights and International Law Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Jarman on 09 May 2018 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The signing was held during the PH-UAE 2nd Political Consultations and was witnessed by Head of Philippine delegation Undersecretary for Policy Enrique A. Manalo. TESDA has sent a letter NQA to convene a JWG to operationalize the MOU. Post transmitted this through Notes 65-2019 dated 31 March 2019 and 161-2019 dated 01 July 2019.
- MOU on Cooperation in Sports between the Philippine Sports Commission and the General Authority of Sports: Signed by Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Constancio R. Vingno, Jr. and Assistant Foreign Minister for Human Rights and International Law Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Jarman on 09 May 2018 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The signing was held during the PH-UAE 2nd Political Consultations and was witnessed by Head of Philippine delegation Undersecretary for Policy Enrique A. Manalo.
- Memorandum of Understanding (CMOU) between PH and UAE on Air Services: Per AE-392-OLA-2018 dated 06 April 2018, OMEAA sent Note 18-2004 dated 06 April 2018 to the UAE Embassy in Manila that the Government of the Philippines’ requirements for the CMOU’s entry into force has been complied with. Pursuant to item VII of the CMOU, the CMOU provisionally took effect on its signing on 28 August 2015 in Manila. President Duterte ratified and confirmed the CMOU between PH and UAE on Air Services and each and every article and clause thereof. Signed 28 June 2017. Completion of the domestic requirements for the entry into force of the UAE side is dated 16 February 2017. The agreement officially took effect on 06 April 2018 or on the date the Philippine side’s notification of completion of domestic requirement for entry into force.
- MOU between Al Ahli Holding Group with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (Private sector agreement): Signed on 8 January 2015 in Manila.
- MOU on Political Consultations: Signed on 10 September 2013 in Abu Dhabi. (Checking with OMEAA)
- Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital: Signed on 21 September 2003 in Dubai. Ratified on 13 April 2005. Concurred in by the Philippine Senate on 15 September 2008. Entered into force on 02 October 2008.
High-Level Exchanges | Visits to the UAE by Philippine officials:
19 February 2020
Presidential Adviser on OFW and Muslim Concerns Secretary Abdullah D. Mama-o, meeting with UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) as represented by Assistant Undersecretary Abdulla Al Nuaimi in Dubai
27 November 2019
DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Hon. Sarah Lou Y. Arriola met with Khalid Abdullah Humaid Belhoul, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) in Abu Dhabi
21 November 2019
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, signed the contract and inaugurated the first VFS Philippine passport renewal centre in the UAE
29 to 30 April 2019
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello and POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia attended the Abu Dhabi Dialogue at the World Government Summit
09 May 2018
Undersecretary for Policy Enrique A. Manalo Head of Philippine delegation to the PH-UAE 2nd Political Consultations in Abu Dhabi.
16 to 18 March 2018
Education Secretary Leonor Briones attended the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai
13 to 17 December 2017
Foreign Affairs Communications Usec. Ernesto C. Abella visited Dubai
01 June 2017
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III met with MOHRE Minister Saqr Ghobash for the signing of the PH-UAE MOU on Labor Cooperation
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza visited Dubai to meet the Filipino community
26 to 27 May 2017
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano visited Dubai to meet the Filipino community
21 to 22 May 2017
TESDA Director General Secretary Guiling Mamondiong visited the UAE on plans to open TESDA training centers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Secretary Mamondiong also met the Filipino communities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai
16 to 21 March 2017
Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, attended the 2017 Global Education and Skills Forum in Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai
01 to 04 March 2017
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay, Jr. met H.E. Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on 02 March 2017 and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai on 03 March 2017 in Dubai.
28 February to 04 March 2017
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III met with H.E. Saqr bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation
20 to 23 February 2017
Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, head of Philippine delegation, attended the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2017 in Abu Dhabi. (Meeting with H.E. Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs on 21 February 2017 at the sidelines of IDEX 2017)
23 to 24 January 2017
Secretary of Foreign Affairs Perfecto R. Yasay, Jr. visited Dubai to meet the Filipino community
14 to 17 January 2017
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, head of Philippine delegation, attended the 15th Ministerial Meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) in Abu Dhabi.
22 to 24 September 2016
Visit of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol in Dubai
16 to 18 January 2016
Energy Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada, head of Philippine delegation, attended the 6th Session of the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the 4th Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2016 in Abu Dhabi.
12 January 2016 in Abu Dhabi; 13 to 15 January to Dubai
Official Visit of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Meeting with H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander; H.E. Saqr Ghobash, UAE Minister of Labor; and H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai
29 to 30 October 2014
DFA Undersecretary Rafael E. Seguis attended the 4th High Level Public-Private Counter-Piracy Conference in Dubai.
10 to 11 September 2013
DFA Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario signed the MOU on Political Consultations between DFA and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 10 September 2013 in Abu Dhabi. Participated in the Third High-Level Public-Private Counter-Piracy Conference on 11 September 2013 in Dubai. (official visit)
13 to 17 January 2013
Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, as Philippine representative to the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2013.
30 September to 1 October 2012
DOF Secretary Cesar Purisima and DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo conducted a working visit to the UAE and held a Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Non-Deal Roadshow. They met with officials of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Abu Dhabi Investment Council, and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, among others.
11 to 13 April 2009
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo attended the Employment and Business Opportunities Forum in Dubai.
27 to 29 February 2008
DA Secretary Arthur C. Yap.
27 to 28 January 2008
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (working visit).
21 to 24 January 2008
DOLE Secretary Arturo D. Brion attended the Ministerial Consultations on Overseas Employment and Contractual Labor for Countries of Origin and Destination in Asia (“Abu Dhabi Dialogue”) and the Gulf Forum on Temporary Contractual Labor.
07 to 11 December 2005
Senator Francis Pangilinan.
07 March 2005
Vice President Noli de Castro.
04 to 06 November 2004
DFA Secretary Alberto G. Romulo as Special Envoy attended the necrological rites for UAE President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
21 July 2004
DOLE Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas.
06 to 07 April 2004
DFA Secretary Delia Domingo Albert graced the opening of the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai (official visit).
First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo interceded on behalf of 23 Filipino seamen detained for loan fraud. He was accompanied and assisted by Ambassador Amable R. Aguiluz V, Special Envoy to the GCC, in making representations with the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.
23 to 24 September 2003
DOF Secretary Jose Isidro N. Camacho and BSP Governor Rafael B. Buenaventura attended an IMF-WB meeting.
07 to 11 July 2003
DA Secretary Luis Lorenzo attended the 2nd Asian Ministerial Conference on the Implementation of the UNCCD.
13 to 17 April 2003
Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Communities Heherson Alvarez.
2002 to 2003
Ambassador Roy A. Cimatu, Special Presidential Envoy to the Middle East, assessed the situation in the region vis-à-vis the impending war in Iraq.
22 to 24 June 1997
DFA Secretary Domingo L. Siazon, Jr.
02 to 04 December 1996
Vice-President Joseph Estrada attended the Jubilee celebrations of the UAE and the 30th anniversary of the accession to the throne of His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as Ruler of Abu Dhabi.
05 to 06 March 1995
President Fidel V. Ramos and First Lady Amelita M. Ramos (Official visit).
24 June 1993
DFA Secretary Roberto R. Romulo.
23 June 1993
Senator Santanina Rasul met with officials of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
21 February 1993
DOLE Secretary Nieves R. Confesor together with POEA Administrator Felicisimo O. Joson Jr. and House Representatives Dante Liban and Elpidio Bondoc discussed protective measures and benefits for OFWs.
Foreign Minister Carlos P. Romulo, Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza (Special Mission to Abu Dhabi).
High-Level Exchanges | Visits to the Philippines by UAE Ministers and Officials:
24 to 26 Mar 2019
H.E. Mariam Al Mehairi, UAE Minister of State for Food Security visited PhilRice Research Institute in Nueva Ecija and the International Rice Research Institute in Laguna to conduct a study on PH agricultural technology. Visit was hosted by the Department of Agriculture
17 October 2018
H.E. Ali Mohammad Al Shamsi, Director of National Intelligence Authority and Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme National Security Council of the UAE paid a courtesy visit to President Rodrigo R. Duterte
09 January 2017
H.E. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Jarman, UAE Assistant Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, headed UAE delegation for the inaugural PH-UAE Political Consultations in Manila, Philippines
24 to 27 February 2014
H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al-Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, to enhance economic cooperation (with business delegation).
20 to 23 March 2013
SheikhaLubna, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, visited DTI, Manila
20 October 2010
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister
14 to 16 March 2010
Dr. HamdanMusalam Al Mazrouel, General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, for the Special Non-Aligned Ministerial Meeting (SNAMMM)
08 to 11 April 2007
H.E. Dr. Ali bin Abdulla Al-Kaabi, Minister of Labor, for purposes of signing the bilateral MOU in the field of manpower.
11 to 12 June 1998
H.E. Mohammed bin Nukhira Al-Dhahiri, Minister of Justice, as Special Envoy of UAE President, attended the Philippine Centennial Celebrations.
26 to 30 May 1989
H.E. Hammad Abdullah Al Mutawa, Director General at the Ministry of Agriculture, discussed bilateral cooperation, particularly in fisheries and shrimps.
11 December 1980
Dr. Mana Saeed Al-Otaiba, Minister of Oil and former OPEC President. President Ferdinand E. Marcos conferred on him the Order of Sikatuna.
14 to 18 July 1980
Dr. Mana Saeed Al-Otaiba, Minister of Oil and former OPEC President, presented the golden sword to President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
04 to 08 October 1976
H.E. Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Minister of Finance and Industry, and Mr. Hassan Abbas Zaki, Adviser to the UAE President, attended a meeting of the IMF-World Bank.
26 January to 06 February 1976
Mr. Mohamed Jasim Al Muzaky, Director of Foreign Department, as head of delegation to the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77.
The UAE has given constant support to the Philippines in times of natural calamities through humanitarian aid.
On December 2006, the Red Crescent Society in the UAE approved the donation of USD 15,000 for the victims of typhoons that battered the Philippines between October and December 2006.
On November 2013 through the national news agency WAM, the UAE government extended its deepest sympathies for the loss of life and property caused by typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines and pledged US$10 million assistance to the victims. According to Chief of Protocol Shihab Alfaheem, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the support and assistance would be in the form of projects.
In March 2015, Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) and the Philippine Red Cross have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the opening of a number of projects for the benefit of those affected by typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). The MOU included the reconstruction of 10 schools devastated by the typhoon, construction of a hospital in Western Samar to be provided with modern medical equipment, and planning of a new healthcare center in Dolores City, Eastern Samar.
On 10 March 2017, the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), headed by H.E. Dr. Mohamed Ateeq Al Falahi, Secretary-General of ERC, has successfully concluded and turned over the following ERC projects for victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Province of Samar:
- Renovation of Samar Provincial Hospital and donation of medical equipment;
- Construction and furnishing of a Community Health Center in Dolores, Samar.
On January 2020, the Embassy worked with the ERC in putting together donation boxes of relief goods for 200,000 displaced families affected by the Taal volcano eruption. The UAE’s assistance came in two stages, first, the ERC sent delegation to Manila to lead its field relief operations, purchase basic necessities from local markets, and supervise the delivery to those affected. The second stage involved dispatching air relief missions carrying the necessary supplies.
Assistance During the COVID-19 Pandemic
On 29 April 2020, the UAE Government sent 77 metric tons of Medical Supplies and PPEs for Filipino COVID-19 frontliners in the Philippines. On 7 May 2020, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., with Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III and Chief Implementer of the Government’s National Policy Against COVID-19 Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, formally received the donation from UAE Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Hamad Al-Zaabi in a ceremonial turnover.
On 3 November 2020, the UAE Government announced that it has allocated AED 35M (PHP446M or USD9.5M) to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to people affected by Typhoon “Goni” in the Philippines. The aid includes large quantities of shelter material as part one of a series of aid programs carried out by ERC. An ERC delegation travelled to Manila to oversee relief operations in coordination with PH authorities. Post coordinated with the UAE on the travel of the ERC team to the Philippines.
On 27 December 2020, a UAE delegation from the Court of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), arrived in the Philippines and met with the provincial officials of San Fernando, La Union, led by Governor Francisco Emmanuel “Pacoy” R. Ortega III, to discuss cooperation to address health and socio-economic challenges. The project will mainly be concentrated in the Municipality of Balaoan, hometown of deceased Filipino nurse Ms. Lezly Orine Ocampo who was honored by UAE for her service as nurse frontliner in Abu Dhabi during the pandemic.
Construction of Mosques
UAE also gave scholarship grants and assistance in maintaining mosques/madrasahs (schools) and Islamic centers. The Sheikh Zayed Foundation, in particular, has financed the construction of a mosque in Jolo in the amount of USD 2 million.
Economic Relations | Trade
PH-UAE total trade
US$ 1,520,450,000 billion
UAE ranks as PH’s 16th trading partner
Philippine exports to the UAE
US$ 321,790,000 million
UAE ranks as PH’s 20th export market
Philippine imports from the UAE
US$ 1,198,660,000 billion
UAE ranks as PH’s 15th import supplier
(Source: Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Dubai)
As of Dec 2019
Top 5 exports to UAE:
- Input or output units, whether or not containing storage units in the same housing
- Cathodes and sections of cathodes, of refined copper
- Bananas, including plantains, fresh or dried
- Static converters (e.g. rectifiers)
- Storage units
Top 5 imports from UAE:
- Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude
- Light petroleum oils and preparations thereof
- Propane, liquefied
- Butanes, liquefied
- H section of iron on non-alloy steel, not further worked than hot-rolled, hot-drawn
or extruded, of a height 80mm or more
(Source: Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Dubai) - as of Dec 2019
Tourism | Visitor Arrivals to the Philippines From the United Arab Emirates
Source: Department of Tourism (www.tourism.gov.ph)
Filipinos in the UAE (2020)
Tourist Visa Holders: 46,537
(Source: UAE Ministry of Interior)
*The Philippines is the third largest expatriate group in UAE.
Profile of Filipinos in UAE
Skilled to Semi-skilled Workers 50%
Lower-skilled Workers 10%
Domestic Workers 20%
(Per UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization or MOHRE, there are 127,000 Filipino Household Service Workers or HSWs in the UAE as of August 2020.)
Per UAE Central Bank (UAECB), the Philippines is the third-largest remittance-receiving country, after India (top) and Pakistan (second). Filipinos remitted a total of US$ 2.8 billion from the UAE in 2020, accounting for 6.7% share in total outbound personal remittances from the UAE.