Manila:  A
Filipino official has proposed the formation of a special zone in
Mindanao that will contribute to food security and provide jobs for

The proposal has been tabled for consideration by Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz.

In a statement, House
Speaker Prospero Nograles said he had met the Custodian of the Two Holy
Mosques, King Abdullah during his visit to the Majlis Al Shura in
Riyadh from January 24 to 27 and that during the meeting, the Saudi
monarch had committed to further strengthening Saudi’s commercial and
investment relations with the Philippines.

During the visit,
Nograles also sought Saudi Minister of Agriculture Fahad Bin Abdul
Rahman Bin Suleiman Balghunaim’s assistance in the development of a
Saudi-Philippines Special Zone of Peace and Development – an area that
aims to provide new opportunities for agricultural production and
exports to the Middle East.

Nograles reportedly
told Balghunaim that establishing the special peace zone would
jump-start economic development for the people of Muslim Mindanao.

On his part,
Balghunaim reportedly said that the Saudi government is keenly
interested in concrete cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the
Philippines in the area of grain production, aquamarine and livestock
and in Halal food processing.

Saudi Arabia, he
noted, recently adopted a policy of establishing partnership with
agriculture business groups in other countries in order to secure the
Kingdom’s food reserves.