By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang expressed its condolences to the people of Oman following the demise of Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the longest-serving Arab leader, at the age of 79 Friday.
In a statement Saturday, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said President Duterte, together with every Filipino, was one with the people of Oman in mourning Qaboos.
“The Palace is saddened upon learning of the passing of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said,” he said.
“On behalf of the Filipino nation, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte expresses his sincere condolences and offers his fervent prayers to the government and people of the Sultanate of Oman as they mourn their beloved leader,” he added.
Panelo described Qaboos as the man who transformed Oman into a modern and stable nation it is now known.
He likewise expressed gratitude to the late leader for welcoming overseas Filipino workers in their homeland.
“Sultan Qaboos was a man of vision and foresight who transformed his country into a modern and stable nation it is known today. We thank His Majesty for graciously hosting thousands of Filipinos who work and consider Oman their second home,” he said.
Qaboos’ death was announced by the Oman News Agency. While the state media did not mention the cause of his death, it was reported that the late Sultan had been receiving cancer treatment in Europe since at least 2014.
The Omani government has declared three days of national mourning for Qaboos who ruled Oman since 1970.
The late sultan was hailed by state media for his “wise and triumphant march full of tenderness that covered Oman from one extreme to the other, and extended all across the Arab, Islamic and international worlds and resulted in a balanced policy that the whole world respected.”
Sultan Qaboos was unmarried and had no heir or designated successor. According to Oman’s Basic Statute, the Royal Family Council should choose a new sultan within three days.
At the age of 29, Qaboos deposed his father in a bloodless coup in 1970 and pulled his country from poverty using oil wealth.
Under his rule, Oman brokered quiet talks between global foes. It was reported that in 2011, Qaboos intervened to free three American hikers who had been jailed in Iran on espionage charges, paying a ransom of $500,000 per person.
Read more: Oman’s Sultan Qaboos dies: state media