Monday, January 23, 2017

Philippines-Saudi Arabia Relations, 1968-1998: A Diplomatic History


      The swift, yet purposeful expansion of Philippine diplomatic relations in 1968 spelled by the foreign policy of President Ferdinand E. Marcos necessitates an examination of the ties of the Philippines with various regions and countries of the world. A comprehensive view of the related literature reveals that the richness of the political, socio-cultural, economic, and labor relations of the Philippines and Saudi Arabia remained unexplored. Thus, this study entitled, Philippines-Saudi Arabia Relations, 1968-1998: A Diplomatic History is a small step towards that end.

     A combination of the diplomatic history methodology and foreign policy analysis was used to draw tentative findings on the nature of Philippines-Saudi Arabia relations from 1968 to 1998. The study provides the necessary experience for a more rigorous examination of the subject matter in the future. It aims to show that the relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the administration of President Marcos and developed during the administrations of Presidents Aquino and Ramos, from 1968 to 1998.

   A number of internal and external determinants of foreign policy were perceived to have impinged on the foreign policy of the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.   Internal determinants include geography, population, power and energy, food, industrial and military capabilities, and history and Islamic heritage. External determinants consist of events or policies from other states that affect the foreign policy of the two nation-states like the "petro-politics," Islamic Conference, gulf war, peace agreements, and pilgrimage to Mecca. These determinants, to a large extent, could help explain and describe the dramatic shifts in Philippine foreign relations in the 1970's. The American oriented thrust of Philippine diplomacy gave way to a more comprehensive and realistic orientation when the country expanded ties with the Muslim countries and the rest of the world.

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sends out a vital country for the Philippines because it controls key strategic resource---oil; it houses influential institutions like the Organization of Islamic Conference, Muslim World League, Arab League, World Muslim Youth, International Red Crescent, and Oil Petroleum Exporting Countries; is the number destination of Overseas Filipino Workers; and is the center of Islamic faith. Major Philippine interests in Saudi Arabia include: 1) ensuring a continuous supply of oil; 2) providing a market for Philippine labor force, and; 3) seeking a peaceful and honorable solution of the Southern Philippines problem.

   On the other hand, Saudi Arabia's major interests in the Philippines include: 1) ensuring the welfare of the Filipinos in the Philippines through peace and development; 2) the Philippines is considered as an economic partner and a huge oil market; 3) continuing supply of Philippine labor to the Kingdom; and 4) promotion of Islamic education and the smooth observance of the pilgrimage (hajj) by able Muslims to Makkah as a pillar of Islam. Saudi Arabia's national interests operate in accordance with the Islamic law using the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah (Traditions of Prophet Muhammad, SAW) as their Constitution, being an Islamic state within the system of Islam.

  Beyond countries of informal ties between the socio-culturally interrelated peoples of the Philippines and Saudi Arabia, in the 30 years (1968-1998) of formal interactions of the two nation-states, mutually beneficial political, socio-cultural, educational, economic and labor relations developed.

by: Esnaen M. Catong, Philippines-Saudi Arabia Relations, 1968-1998: A Diplomatic History,---A Master's Thesis in History (Cognate in Political Science), University of the Philippines-Diliman, Quezon City, 2004. Published (ISSN 0031-7802): Ricardo T. Jose, Ph.D., (Issue Editor), Recent Studies in Philippine History, Philippines Social Sciences Review, Volume 57 Nos. 1-4 2005. College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines, Diliman Quezon City, 2006.