On 7 April 2021, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates entered into a formal agreement to create a bilateral mechanism for the protection of the interest of each other’s nationals by mutually providing timely and effective assistance on a whole range of consular matters.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Establishment of a Joint Consular Committee between the two countries was held at the headquarters of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) in Abu Dhabi. The signatories on behalf of their respective governments were H.E. Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE, and H.E. Faisal Eissa Lutfi, Assistant Undersecretary for Consular Affairs of MOFAIC.
Immediately after the signing ceremony, the virtual inaugural Joint Consular Committee Meeting under the MOU was convened, chaired by Mr. Lutfi. The Philippine delegation was led by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro, and was composed of representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai.
The UAE Delegation was headed by H.E. Assistant Undersecretary Lutfi and included representatives from the MOFAIC, Ministry of Interior (MOI), Abu Dhabi Health Services, and the Federal Agency for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC).
The two delegations discussed ways for the two governments to enhance the assistance given to their nationals in coordination with the respective local authorities of each country.
Amb. Quintana hailed the signing of the agreement as another milestone in the further strengthening of PH-UAE cooperation in an important area of the work of the diplomatic missions. “Excellent people-to-people relations are the bedrock of PH-UAE bilateral relations and the MOU is a testimony to the two countries’ commitment to further protect the interests of their nationals in each other’s country.”