MANILA - Malacañang on Monday said fresh cabinet appointee Roy Cimatu, a former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff, will be critical for the safety of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said part of Cimatu's primary function as Special Envoy of the President to the Middle East was to prepare contingency plans for Filipino nationals in the Middle East in case trouble or conflict erupts in the said region.
The Middle East continues to be among top destinations for Filipino workers.
Abella said Cimatu was given the position on Sept. 28, 2016. His term would expire after a year.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday announced that Cimatu, who served as Chief of Staff in 2002, is now part of the administration.
"Cabinet na siya ngayon eh. But this time I’d transfer him to a busier job," the President said.
During his visit to the Middle East, Duterte told the Filipino community in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that he was already talking to Cimatu about a government post.