President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to the Gulf Cooperation Council States (GCCS) was warmly appreciated by Filipino expatriates, a Malacañang official said on Friday.
"So far, in relation to Filipinos abroad, the meetings have been marked by appreciation from expat Filipinos who now feel that they have a government and a President, who not only knows how they feel, but actually prioritizes their needs and makes sure they are recognized and included in the national life and conversation," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement during a press briefing in Bahrain.
"These have been very moving days, and the closest one can describe is, a father meeting with his children and extended family. At times stern, tough talking and severe about those who threaten the next generation, he has also exhibited tenderness, warmth and care."
Abella also pointed out how Gulf State leaders admired Duterte and the Filipino community as a whole.
"They have also expressed deep admiration for President Duterte and his leadership --- his campaign to restore trust in the government," Abella explained. "Through his campaign against illegal drug traffickers and violators; providing market and employment opportunities so that all, especially the poor, can achieve their dreams for a better life; also for engaging rebel groups, to agree on common values and structures for a nation whose first and foremost priorities are the common good and national interest."
Abella meanwhile elaborated on the key agreements Duterte had signed during his visit to Bahrain, such as agreements on setting up a joint commission on bilateral trade, avoidance of double taxation, strengthening of aviation links, and new investments.