I.          Diplomatic History

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates were established in 1980.

On 17 June 1980, the Philippine Government opened its diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi. The Embassy premises were at Janana Building along Electra Street in the Khalidiya Area and the Embassy was initially in the care of 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 first resident Philippine Ambassador to the UAE was Isabelo J. Astraquillo (1986-89). He was succeeded by: Fortunato D. Oblena (1989-94), Roy V. Señeres (1994-98), Amable R. Aguiluz III (1998-2003), Libran N. Cabactulan (2003-2009), Grace R. Princesa (2009-2015), Constancio R. Vingno, Jr. (2015-2018).

H.E. Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, is the current Philippine Ambassador to the UAE while the new UAE Ambassador to the Philippines is H.E. Mr Hamad Saeed Al Zaabi.

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.

II.        Bilateral Agreements

A.   Existing

Agreement Status
Protocol on Agricultural Cooperation Signed on 14 April 1981 in Abu Dhabi. Entered into force on the same date. Expired in April 1991.
Air Services Agreement Signed on 01 April 2002 in Abu Dhabi. Ratified on 20 January 2003. Entered into force on 29 July 2003.
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.
Memorandum of Agreement between the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the UAE Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry. (Private sector agreement). Signed on 12 January 2005 in Makati City.
Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Manpower. Signed on 09 April 2007 in Manila.
Memorandum of Understanding between JAFZA International FZE and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Signed 27 January 2008 in Dubai.
Memorandum of Understanding between the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  (Private sector agreement). Signed on 27 January 2008 in Dubai.
Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Agriculture and Fresh Fruits Company. Signed 27 February 2008 in Dubai.
Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations. Signed on 10 September 2013 in Abu Dhabi.

III.       High-Level Exchanges


Visits to the UAE by Philippine Presidents and Vice Presidents:

President Fidel V. Ramos and First Lady Amelita M. Ramos.  Official visit.  05-06 Mar 1995
Vice-President Joseph Estrada, to attend 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.  02-04 Dec 1996
Vice President Noli de Castro.  07 Mar 2005
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  Working visit. 27-28 Jan 2008
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to attend the Employment and Business Opportunities Forum in Dubai. 11-13 Apr 2009
Vice President Jejomar Binay, as Philippine representative to the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2013. 13-17 Jan 2013


Visits to the Philippines by UAE Ministers and officials:

Mr. Mohamed Jasim Al Muzaky, Director of Foreign Department, as head of delegation to the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77. 26 Jan – 06 Feb 1976
H.E. Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Minister of Finance and Industry, and Mr. Hassan Abbas Zaki, Adviser to the UAE President, to attend a meeting of the IMF-World Bank. 04-08 Oct 1976
Dr. Mana Saeed Al-Otaiba, Minister of Oil and former OPEC President. Minister Al-Otaiba presented the golden sword to President Ferdinand E. Marcos. 14-18 Jul 1980
Dr. Mana Saeed Al-Otaiba, Minister of Oil and former OPEC President. President Ferdinand E. Marcos conferred on him the Order of Sikatuna. 11 Dec 1980
H.E. Hammad Abdullah Al Mutawa, Director General at the Ministry of Agriculture, to discuss bilateral cooperation particularly in fisheries and shrimps. 26-30 May 1989
H.E. Mohammed bin Nukhira Al-Dhahiri, Minister of Justice, as Special Envoy of UAE President, to attend the Philippine Centennial Celebrations.  11-12 June 1998
H.E. Dr. Ali bin Abdulla Al-Kaabi, Minister of Labor, for purposes of signing the bilateral MOU in the field of manpower. 08-11 Apr 2007
H.H. Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to mark the 30th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the UAE. 19-21 Oct 2010
H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al-Mansouri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates to enhance economic cooperation (with business delegation) 24-27 Feb 2014

IV.      Political and Security Relations

The UAE supported the GRP-MNLF Talks that culminated in the signing of the Final Peace Agreement on 2 September 1996 in Manila. The UAE and the Philippines have lent support to each other’s candidatures in various international fora.

V.       Economic Relations

A.   Trade (2013)

PH-UAE total trade        US$1.384 billion 
Philippine exports to the UAE  

US$0.315 billion

(UAE ranks as PH’s 17th export market)

Philippine imports from the UAE 

US$1.068 billion

(UAE ranks as PH’s 15th import supplier) 

Top 5 exports to UAE:

1)    Bananas, including plantains, fresh or dried

2)    Other articles for the convenience or packing of goods, of plastics and other similar sanitary wares

3)    Static converters (e.g., rectifiers)

4)    Input or output units, whether or not containing storage units in the same housing

5)    Men’s wear manufactured from materials on consignment basis; and Storage units.

Top 5 imports from UAE:

1)    Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude

2)    Butanes, liquefied

3)    Propane, liquefied

4)    Aluminum alloys, unwrought

5)    Generating sets with compression ignition, internal combustion piston engines

B.   Tourism


There has been a noticeable annual increase in visitor arrivals from the UAE.  According to the figures from the Department of Tourism, there were 15,155 visitors from UAE in 2013, a 15% increase from 2012 figures (12,684).


Visitor Arrivals to the Philippines From the United Arab Emirates




















Source:  Department of Tourism website (


C.   Development Assistance

The Philippines is not among the top ten recipients of gross official development assistance (ODA) from the UAE, based on the gross bilateral ODA 2011-2012 average report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

However, the Philippines has benefited from 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.

In November 2013, the UAE donated US$10 million (AED36.7 million) to victims of Typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Typhoon Yolanda) in the Philippines, in line with the directives of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. 

D.   OFW Remittances

Monitored remittances from land- and sea-based workers in the UAE have grown in the last nine years. 

OFW Remittances from the UAE(In Thousand US Dollars)
Year Land-based Sea-based Total
2013 1,240,790 22,379 1,263,169
2012 942,301 18,671 960,972
2011 863,408 14,573 877,981
2010 756,803 18,434 775,237
2009 627,209 17,613 644,822
2008 605,612 15,620 621,232
2007 519,754 10,209 529,963
2006 416,976 10,270 427,246
2005 252,837 4,592 257,429

Source:  Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas website (

VI.      Labor Relations

The UAE is the second top destination of OFWs in the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia. The Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi estimates that there are about 500,000 to 600,000 Filipinos in the UAE.

The profile of OFWs in the UAE is as follows:

               Professionals                    -           60%

               Semi-skilled workers          -           25%

               Unskilled workers              -           15%