KACST tower to house Knowledge Center

***

The King Abdul Aziz City For Science and Technology (KACST) will be building a SR500 million high-rise tower to set up its new Knowledge Center on its campus.

The contract for the construction of the proposed tower was signed on Monday by KACST President Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel and Sadoun Al-Sadoun, general manager of ABV Rock Group, which has undertaken to construct the complex in 27 months.

Al-Suwaiyel said that this will be an iconic tower which can be spotted from any part of the city. The project, he said, will be the first of eight to be constructed under its master plan spread over a period of five years.

Photo taken from: SPACEAGENCY (Space Agency was engaged to develop a wayfinding strategy and to design signage)

The proposed Knowledge Center. Photo taken from: SPACEAGENCY (Space Agency engaged to develop a way finding strategy and to design signage) – click image to zoom

Building a Knowledge Center is the most important project for the city, and it will include research institutes and centers to support scientific research,” said the KACST president. It will also provide the perfect environment for professionals and researchers in keeping with the spirit of the changing era which is going through a series of scientific and technological developments, he said.

The Knowledge Center will be a model of exclusive architectural work to go with scientific research. It is a unique design consisting of 18 floors with a total area of 47,000 square meters to house 1,750 employees in the complex. The complex will have two basement parking facility besides four floors for offices, media, public relations and communications.

Pointing out that the design of the building will take into account the use of the latest environment-friendly technologies in energy applications and smart buildings, Al-Suwaiyel said the building will provide innovative design and comfortable office environment within the organization for maximum productivity of employees. (ARAB News/22.02.2014)

About these ads

2013 in review by WordPress

**

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 410,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 18 days for that many people to see it.

Where did they come from? That’s 196 countries in all!

Most visitors came from Saudi Arabia. Philippines & The United States were not far behind.

How did they find you?

Some visitors came searching, mostly for jawazat, saudi labor law, philippine embassy riyadh, jawazat riyadh, and jawasat

The top referring sites in 2013 were:

  1. facebook.com
  2. mail.yahoo.com
  3. delta-search.com
  4. topblogs.com.ph
  5. expat-blog.com

Thanks for flying with WordPress.com in 2013. We look forward to serving you again in 2014! Happy New Year!

Acceptance Speech – OBRA

Acceptance SpeechOutstanding Balikbayan and OFW Reputation Award

This coming 13 December 2013, the OFW Empowerment blog will be celebrating its 8 years anniversary.

When I found out that I will be receiving this award today it gave me time to ruminate on the period of time I have spent on my laptop, day and  night  just to pleased my fellow OFWs in  search of answers to their woes and grievances working in the foreign land.

First and foremost  I would like to thank them  for their trust in me and the ofwempowerment blog for all these years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast year, OFWempowerment Blog review of the WordPress 2012 Annual Report stated that “about 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 340,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 6 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!”

As of  today, the blog has 1,104,931 visitors and No. 8 in the list of Philippine top blogs under the community category. We have  2,341 followers,  1,679 emails only followers, 1009 Facebook followers, 19,045 comments, all answered and as of to date 263 comments unanswered yet, because I am here with you today.

What I achieve is just like a drop in a bucket; yet I owe it from my fellow OFWs who made the OFWempowerment blog stronger as ever that even a mightiest storm surge cannot weaken the foundation that this blog has been molded for the past  years. And to receive an award for something I love doing is a true reward  for which I am very grateful.

I would like to express my heartfelt  and sincere appreciation to  Exlinkevents the creator of OBRA (pang lima na PO ngayon) more particularly to Ms. Mitch Ballesteros, the woman behind this big curtain and  the awards WE are reaping today; and to Orly Ballesteros as well, the COO of Exlink Corporation.

There is only one thing we can do as a gesture of gratitude to the organizer, to all the AWARDEES WE CAN DO MORE by supporting EXLINK recent events that are just around the corner, the 10th Megabalikbayan OFW Expo, the OFW Business Summit, the International Beauty, Health and Wellness Expo, the International Travel Expo and many more.

I want to finish up by once again thanking everyone for giving me this beautiful Christmas, this wonderful award. Your guidance, your warm camaraderie, and my personal special thanks to Lyza and Sarah of Exlinks.

To my wife-Minda and my brother-Daniel, Jr. and his wife Lorna, who are here today to witness this once and a lifetime occasion. To each and every one of us who are here today-  thank you for sharing with me this glorious memory of a very proud and happy time in my life, a memory I am sure to reflect upon for years to come.  I am truly honored to receive Exlink events OBRA’s  Outstanding Filipino Blogger Advocate Award.

LASTLY, To the seven Filipino health workers died just recently in  Yemen blast along with the Eleven other Filipinos wounded in the attack – THIS AWARD IS FOR ALL OF YOU!

OBRA

Philippine Embassy URGENT Advisory

***

Philippine Embassy URGENT Advisory – Filipinos Qualified Under Amnesty but with no documents or fingerprint should contact and register with POLO immediately

philembThe Philippine Embassy in Riyadh advises all Filipinos who are qualify under the guidelines for amnesty but do not have the originals of their iqama and passport and have never submitted themselves for fingerprinting to contact the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh (POLO Riyadh) to register in preparation for procedures at the Wafideen/Jawazat and processing of your final exit.

Those requested to register with POLO are those qualified under the amnesty satisfy all of following conditions:
• Expatriates who absconded from work before the start of the amnesty period or 6 April 2013 and whose previous sponsors filed absconding reports against them, and
 • Those with expired iqama and not working with an employer/sponsor, and
• Those who did not file or have no existing labor complaint filed with the Saudi Labor Office,
 • Those with no original iqama, no original passport used during entry or with entry number, and those with no fingerprint on the system.

For those who contact POLO and register, the Philippine Embassy will endorse them to the Wafeedin / Jawazat at Shumeisy District for fingerprinting and processing of their final exit.

On Wednesday 13 November, the Embassy and POLO assisted 106 Filipinos who qualify and registered, and 99 (52 women and 47 men) were fingerprinted at the Riyadh Jawazat and granted their final exit visa on the same day. The authorities have not required their detention at the Deportation Center in Shumeisy District in Riyadh.

The Embassy reminds those who absconded or have labor cases after the start of the amnesty period or after 6 April 2013 that they are not covered by the amnesty guidelines, and their cases will have to be resolved through regular procedures in accordance with existing rules and regulations.  -end-

Philippine Embassy-Riyadh  (URGENT ADVISORY) #  PR-210-2013 /  16 November 2013

Bangon Philippines!!!!

Bangon PILIPINAS ! !

BANGON PHILIPPINES!

BANGON PHILIPPINES!

Super Typhoon Yolanda left massive damages in several municipalities and cities in the Philippines as it started its destructive course through the country early morning of November 8, 2013. Help over 4 million affected Filipinos to stand back up again as the country rebuilds itself as a nation. Below are some ways you can help relief efforts already underway. Let’s do this!

Donate : Donors are advised to conduct due diligence before donating money directly to personal bank accounts.

helpmap-btn

helpdirectory-btn

helplist-btn

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMEONE: Help create a masterlist of all Yolanda survivors. Let friends & family know others are okay. Click Here!   or  GOOGLE PERSON FINDER: Typhoon Yolanda.

I ask all of you to join me in prayer for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda especially those in the beloved islands of the Philippines –  Pope Francis

157,494 Filipinos Regularize Status During Correction Period

****

157,494 Filipinos Regularize
Status During Correction Period

Philippine Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago, in a meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Consular Affairs Ambassador Usamah Al-Senousi, expressed gratitude of the Philippine government and the Filipinos in the Kingdom for the 7-month correction period granted by King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz which allowed more than 150,000 Filipinos to correct their status in the Kingdom, either through transfer of employment or correction of profession.

Statistics on Filipinos Benefiting From Correction

Region Transfer of employment Left on Final exit Change profession
Riyadh 21838 16427 46647
Eastern 13982 13638 31286
Makkah 13133 5784 17178
Qassim 1050 812 2050
Al-Madinah 635 585 1233
Asir 1074 675 2080
Jazan 266 220 440
Najran 385 194 870
Hail 413 192 1319
Tabuk 209 149 536
Jouf 158 110 367
Baha 107 109 173
Northern Border 80 44 185
Total 53330 38939 104364

Ambassador Tago cited statistics received from the Saudi Ministry of Labor that 53,330 Filipino transferred employment to a new employer, and 104,364 changed or corrected their professions in the work permit and residence card or iqama.

“I thank the Saudi Ministry of Labor which sent the Embassy these official statistics on the number of Filipinos who corrected their status in the Kingdom during the 7 month period from 25/5/1434H to 12/12/1434H,” said Ambassador Tago.

During the meeting with Undersecretary Senousi, Ambassador Tago added, “the statistics were very detailed, and categorized by profession, activity and region. They reveal that Filipinos benefited greatly from the correction period and a large number were able to regularize their status in the Kingdom. More importantly, the statistics reveal that the majority corrected their status across the Kingdom through the initiative of their existing or new employer.”

According to the MOL statistics, 38,939 Filipinos left on final exit during the 7 month period. They include those who left after the end of their contract. Significantly, those who left on final exit during the correction period will be able to return to the Kingdom in the future if they wish to do so, except for a few who may have a derogatory record. As of 5 November, the Philippine government shouldered the repatriation of 2018 from Jeddah, 2332 from Riyadh, and 141 from the Eastern Region. The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate General in Jeddah continue to repatriate Filipinos, and 81 are currently being booked on flights to the Philippines.

Special Procedures for Mothers with Children

 Ambassador Tago also thanked the Ministry of Interior and the Office of the Emir as well as the Jawazat officials who helped in the cases of Filipino women who needed documentation for their children. With the approval of the Interior Ministry and the Office of the Emir of Riyadh, an interagency committee processed the birth documentation of 477 women and their 602 children. Of the total number, 401 completed their both the DNA testing and fingerprinting while some opted not to continue with the procedure. 347 mothers with their children have left, while 45 are in the final step either for booking of flights or issuance of final exit.

“We are very thankful for the Interior Ministry and Emir’s approval for the mechanism providing for DNA testing and final exit of the mothers and their children. This has helped many mothers. We regret that there are 191 who did not show up during the procedure, although 29 have now returned and asked for assistance. In addition, we have 103 new cases who have asked for repatriation. The DNA testing procedure ended on 15 July after the Embassy issued several advisories and called all those on the list several times. The 132 cases that are now seeking help have been listed, and the Embassy will try to seek approval for a similar procedure that would facilitate their documentation and the processing of their final exit” stated Ambassador Tago.

In addition to the processing and the DNA testing conducted in a Philippine Embassy rented villa in Um Al-District, the Jawazat accommodated the women for fingerprinting or the basma during a special time, dedicated only for the mothers and their children, which facilitated the process.

Procedures for Pending Cases 

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh has received information from the Passports Directorate General that there will be procedures and a schedule for the processing of males and females who have not completed the procedures to obtain their final exit. The Embassy will inform those who have enlisted seeking final exit once the procedure and the timetable is finalized. The advisory will also be posted on the Embassy’s website and Facebook page.

The Embassy expects the processing to resume next week.###

Philippine Embassy in Riyadh / Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Press Release PR-200-2013 dated 6 November 2013

Crackdown cripples life

FEATURED ARTICLE

JEDDAH/RIYADH – Residents and citizens woke up on Tuesday to a day crippled by a lack of necessary services as illegal expat workers, who failed to rectify their status, stayed indoors for fear of being arrested.

Streets were less crowded where taxi drivers charged exorbitant fares, markets wore a deserted look, many commercial establishments and hospitals reported no-shows, shutters were down on many grocery stores and eateries, street vendors were no where to be seen. Customers were forced to fill grocery bags themselves at super market counters in the absence of expat workers who did this job.

desert1A Saudi national in Jeddah summed up the scenario: “It seems that the country was full of violators. Shops are closed, streets are empty, restaurants are empty. I counted 30 cell phone shops on one street closed. God help us! Where are the citizens?”

In Jazan, a number of Saudis said that they had to go to their workplaces, wearing un-ironed thobe and headgear (shemagh) as most of the laundries remained closed. “There was no way for me to wear a washed and ironed thobe and shemagh as I saw doors of the laundry where I deposited my clothes closed without any notice,” said Muhammad Qassem. Even the dead had to suffer.

About 13 facilities for washing dead bodies were shut down in Jeddah due to the absence of workers. Those who wash dead bodies at these facilities are part-time workers who are scared of inspection raids.

Muhammad Fauzy Maulavi, director of the charity project for washing dead bodies, said that those who wash dead bodies are either drivers or have some administrative jobs listed as their profession. As a result of the closure of the facilities, many people started taking dead bodies to Makkah for washing.

About 60 percent of commercial shops, workshops, fruit and vegetable stalls in Jazan and other cities and towns in the region were closed. There have been increased business activities at the eateries in the region due to the closure of more than 40 percent of restaurants and boofias. “I had to wait more than four hours in front of a restaurant to get lunch from a restaurant where I saw unprecedented rush of customers,” said Abdurahman Nasheeli.

Jabir Kharmi, another citizen, said that he was forced to eat lunch from a fast-food outlet due to the closure of a traditional restaurant where he frequented to have his meal.

Meanwhile, crackdown on illegal expatriates continued throughout the Kingdom on the second day on Tuesday following the end of the amnesty period. More than 5,000 illegals were arrested on the first day. They included 3,607 in Jazan, about 2,000 in Jeddah and 1,159 in Asir region.

Lt. Col. Abdullah Al-Shaathan, spokesman of Asir police, said that the arrested expatriates included 461 people without a valid residency permit (iqama), and another 119 who were found working in violation of the labor law. Three Saudis were also arrested for providing transportation to illegals. A total of 201 illegals were arrested in Hail.

Several illegals from the Asian and Arab countries gathered at their consulates in Jeddah on the first two days of the post-amnesty period, seeking completion of the procedures to rectify their labor and residency status. They complained that even though they had registered their names at their missions, the procedures for correction or securing a final exit stamp have not been finalized at the Passports Department.

Some consulates urged the department to expedite the paperwork. Ali Al-Ayashi, Consul General of Yemen, demanded the department to complete the correction procedures of thousands of Yemenis whose names were registered at the consulate well before the end of the amnesty period.

The Border Guards in Jazan arrested more than 8,000 foreigners belonging to various nationalities who tried to leave the Kingdom illegally within the first 24 hours of the post amnesty period.

Brig. Gen. Abdullah Mahfouz, spokesman of the Guards in Jazan region, said that more than 3,000 of them were deported after getting finger-printed while the remaining illegals are under the process of finger-printing. “It was revealed that a number of these illegals are in the wanted list of security authorities for various crimes and hence, they will be transferred to the concerned authorities for follow up penal action,” he said.

FRONT PAGE: SAUDI GAZETTE  5 NOV. 2013

New Rules Governing the Foreign Workers Violating Labor and Residency Rules After the Correction Period

***

New Rules Governing the Foreign Workers Violating Labor and Residency Rules After the Correction Period

philemb(RIYADH, 4 November 2013) – The Saudi Government has informed the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, through a formal diplomatic Note, of the new rules that will govern foreign workers violating the labor and residency laws following the end of the correction period.

Following is a summary of the most salient provisions of the new rules:

 Foreign workers who work illegally for their own account, absconded from their sponsors, and overstayers will be apprehended, penalized and deported;

 Those who employ illegal or absconded workers, provide cover, harbor or transport them, or “aids them by any means” will also be pursued;

Employers will bear the cost of deportation of illegal workers, except where the foreign worker works for himself in which case he will bear the cost of his own deportation;

Illegal workers who are unable to afford the travel ticket will be deported at the cost of the Saudi Government;

Overstayers will deported at the expense of the employer, or, if he works for himself, the company or person who sponsored his visit will bear the cost of deportation;

All companies and individual employers, including government agencies, shall ensure that their workers obtain and renew their iqamas in due time;

Deported foreign workers shall be prohibited from returning to the Kingdom;

Offending foreigners will be accommodated in Saudi Government centers pending deportation.

The Embassy urges all Filipino nationals in the Kingdom to familiarize themselves with the new rules.

In the meantime, the Philippine Embassy and the Consulate advises all those who have taken steps to process their final exit and repatriation to remain calm and not panic. The Embassy and the Consulate continue to coordinate with the concerned authorities for the processing of the final exit of those waiting to be repatriated. The Embassy is currently confirming the procedures and timeframe for those who have no original copy of their residence card or iqama, their passport with the border number, or those who have not encoded their fingerprint. The Embassy in Riyadh has already received advice on procedures for the females, and is coordinating for the procedures for males.

The Embassy and the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah have also created special roving teams that will go around jails, prisons and detention centers around the Kingdom to any violators that have been detained and provide them with Travel Documents to facilitate their early deportation.

The Embassy assures the Filipino community all over the Kingdom that the Philippine Government is ready to provide appropriate assistance to Filipinos.

Further queries may be made thru the following existing 24-hour hotlines in addition to the landlines posted on the Embassy’s website:

Embassy’s Assistance to Nationals Section
056 9893301
Consulate’s Assistance to Nationals Section
055 5219613
Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Riyadh)
054 5917834 / 050 7537997
Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Eastern Province)
050 126 9742
 (END)

Press Release: PR-199-2013: DATED 4 November 2013
 

The reality of Saudization is yet to come

***

4/11/2013, RIYADH: Why on earth those undocumented Filipino workers in the Kingdom are hard headed enough to comply legalization process under the Saudi government amnesty program and chose to stay in the Kingdom? Does the three months grace period not enough to conform requirements to complete paper works? I don’t think so. There are many remedies waiting for them during those periods;  to rectify their working status or decide to go home for good.

The Philippine Embassy on 10 October 2013 announced in their website that male Filipino worker who wishes to be repatriated before the 3 November 2013 deadline, but lack the required original iqama or passport and thereby have been unable to process exit visa to contact Embassy and labor office. The Philippine Embassy under the Ambassadorship of H.E. Ezzedin Tago   has arranged with the Office of the Emir for the creation of an interagency committee to look into the cases of those with no documents in preparation for their repatriation. The Philippine labor office was even open during Eid holidays to serve their distress nationals who want to avail the Saudi government amnesty program.

There were even separate facilities for mothers with unducmented children whether they are registered or not to proceed to the embassy’s Um Al-Hammam field office and avail the additional few days’ extension for DNA testing as provided by the Saudi authorities.

DNA testing is an initial step prior to processing at the Jawazat for final exit for those undocumented Filipina mother and children.

However, despite of the announcement and notices from various Filipino groups to their members and friends, a few have been heeding the call.

philembassyWhat’s wrong? What’s on the mind of our fellow OFWs? I can’t find any answers to those simple questions that I, myself asked. Are our embassy has failed to reach our fellow OFW in distress? The answer is No either, because the just concluded amnesty program of the Saudi government was not only for Filipinos, in fact it was for all expatriates in the Kingdom. It is a national instruction or order from Saudi authorities to all foreign workers to correct their status or leave the Kingdom for good. I think our Embassy and or our Consulate had exhausted all possible means to help our OFW in  distress. Maybe the three months time extension was not enough or there will be a personal neglect or the “Filipino manana habit” has something to do with it.

Today is the day to reckon, there will be no excuses. Whether we don’t like it, our own action and by ignoring to follow orders has been substantiated, and therefore we must face the consequences. The theory of flight says “for every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”.

The Saudi authorities will start a massive crackdown to those expatriates who failed to rectify their statuses. There will be a knock on your door at any given time and as what Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al_Hamzi, Director General of the Passport Department  said “we have plans to deal with overcrowding at correctional facilities and prisons have more capacity and are located across the Kingdom, unlike deportation centers, which have a limited capacity.

A Saudi colleague of mine at work saidafter the crackdown and cleansing period, the increase of crimes that involves foreigners will be lessen and corruption in few offices perhaps be eradicated which year by year became a disease in our system”.  

In a press conference, Deputy Labor Minister Mufrej bin Saad Al-Haqbani said labor inspectors would visit commercial establishments, construction sites, operations and maintenance offices, retail outlets, catering companies, cafes. They will crosscheck workers’ identities with their legal documentation to ensure that workers are legal.

Deputy Labor Minister Al-Haqbani was thankful to foreign workers who have participated in the development of the Kingdom. “We still want you but we want foreigners to remain in the Kingdom lawfully” he added.

The Passport Department and other Saudi government security agencies can now exercise and strengthen its internal security measures against terrorist activities and infiltration; crimes such as drug smuggling, manufacturing and alcohol use, visa forgery, immoral act and back door activities. It can easily solve crimes and prevent those expats or foreigners with criminal backgrounds to return the country with false names or new identity.

Again folks, it is not Saudi government harassment and or violation of human rights, it is for the good of all expatriates, the employers and the country as well; and the last but not the least the reality of Saudization is yet to come”.  – BongA

Related links:

Thousands arrested on first day of crackdown 

Life hit hard by labor raids 

MOI Spokesman announces end of grace period for violators of labour, immigration regulations 

Labor inspectors won’t raid homes

Thousands arrested on Day 2

Labor action pays off

Remittances poised to fall 20% in wake of campaign

379 OFWs took SPLBE in Riyadh

***

21/10/2013 RIYADH: A total of 379 overseas Filipino workers took the recently conducted Special Professional Licensure Board Examinations (SPLBE) held in Riyadh on 15 to 17 October 2013.

The Examinations were supervised by a Team from the PRC, headed by Director Lily Ann R. Baldago, Head of the 5-member PRC Team.

The Philippine Regulations Commission has been conducting SPLBE overseas since 1997 to qualified OFWs while working in the Middle East or other foreign countries.

01This year’s examination in Riyadh was organized and coordinated by the officers and members of Philippine Professional Organizations (PPO) under the leadership of its current Chairman Engr. Modesto Gibas.

PRC Resolution No. 2011-627 directs the PRC and the Professional Regulatory Boards (PRBs) to conduct SPLBE with the active role and participation of  Philippine Embassies/Consulates and Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) abroad.

The just concluded Special Professional Licensure Board Examinations were administered for 7 disciplines. Nursing still topped the number of examinees with 87 examinees, closely followed by Architecture with 86 examinees, Registered Master Electrician with 54 examinees, Civil Engineering with 49 examinees, Mechanical Engineering with 46 and Certified Public Accountants with 24 examinees.

OFW-applicants who wants to avail SPLBE in the future can submit requests through their respective overseas professional organizations or by OFW-applicants themselves to Philippine embassies or consulates through the POLOs.

The Philippine posts or the POLOs shall then submit to the PRC data on the number of pre-registered OFW-applicants, at least three months before the proposed date of the examinations.

Embassy Warns Filipinos Against Drug Smuggling, etc.

***

(Riyadh, 20  October 2013) – The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh warns all Filipinos in the Kingdom against receiving packages or parcels from unknown or untrusted senders as they may contain illegal drugs.

stop-drugs-saudi-arabiaThe Embassy issues this warning following an increasing number of cases of Filipinos being arrested immediately after receiving packages or parcels suspected to contain illegal drugs. The Filipinos were immediately arrested by police after presenting their iqamas to collect packages suspected of containing illegal drugs from courier companies.

Filipinos in the Kingdom are advised NOT to provide their personal information to other persons, specifically the Saudi residence permit (iqama) and mobile numbers.

Filipinos are especially warned against accommodating requests from any individual who claim that his or her iqama is still being processed and needs the iqama number of the unsuspecting Filipino to receive a package coming from the Philippines.

A common practice among these nefarious individuals is to use social media, such as Facebook, to befriend the victim and later on request the latter to receive a package to be given to another person who is in the Kingdom.

The Embassy is coordinating with police and customs authorities in the Philippines to prevent this illegal activity.

Possession and use of illegal drugs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a serious criminal offense under Saudi law. The importation or smuggling into the Kingdom of illegal drugs or its precursors is a crime punishable by death. END

No. PR-183-2013: Embassy Warns Filipinos Against Drug Smuggling dtd. 19/10/2013

***

(Riyadh, 20 October 2013) The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh strongly urges all Filipinos, particularly those working and residing in Al-Khobar, not to seek the “services” of unscrupulous groups to obtain fake Philippine and Saudi documents, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates and iqamas, and should not seek their “assistance” – in whatever form.

On the basis of sworn affidavits by several Filipinos in the Eastern Region, the public is informed of the complaints against the activities of Ms. Aiza Monares and Mr. Albert Guanzon, formerly associated with Bantay Kassangga.

The public may recall an earlier advisory of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) – issued on 20 July 2009 by the former Labor Attaché David Des Dicang regarding the questionable activities of Mr. Guanzon.

The Embassy stresses to all Filipinos the need to observe and obey the rules and regulations of both the Philippines and Saudi Arabia, and to avoid situations that necessitate them to obtain forged or fake documents.

The Embassy also stresses that it denounces any individual or group who may be involved, wholly or partly, in procuring, manufacturing, providing, facilitating or distributing fake and forged documents of any kind, whether for a fee or for free.

The Embassy encourages any Filipino to report similar matters to the Embassy through: 482-4354, 480-1918 or rype@riyadhpe.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.// . (END)

No. PR-184-2013: Filipinos Reminded Not to Seek Fake Documents and Assistance from Mr. Albert Guanzon and Associates  dtd. 19/10/2013

Advisory against dealing with unscrupulous, unauthorized firms and individual’s

***

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh warned overseas Filipino workers in the Kingdom not to deal with any person or entities in exchange for promises of repatriation. The advisory was issued after  the Embassy received sworn complaints against certain individuals posing as Embassy or POLO staffs or employees. 

PR-190-2013%20ROBREDO

Sunny Robredo (a.k.a. Nasanciano Robredo)

(Riyadh, 23 October 2013) The public is advised to refrain and avoid transacting with a certain Sunny Robredo (a.k.a. Nasanciano Robredo).

Mr. Robredo misrepresented himself as a member of the Embassy staff and succeeded in swindling a fellow national of more than SAR 900.00.

The Embassy reiterates its reminder for the public to directly approach Embassy personnel regarding matters relating to consular and other relevant services. In addition, an official receipt issued by the Embassy even during outreach services covers all transactions and fees for services. The schedule of fees for consular services is posted on the Embassy’s website or if you want to know whom to deal with please  click here>>> EMBASSY OFFICIALS AS OF 30 SEPTEMBER 2013.  To those OFWs who wants to seek advise with our POLO in relation to Labor complaints, click this link >>> POLO Personnel (as of 30 September 2013) ; or you may approach directly our energetic, affable and friendly Welfare Officer in Riyadh in the person of MR. ROMEO PABLO, who is also the concurrent Officer-in-Charge of POLO-Riyadh & POLO-CRO.

The Embassy would also like to encourage the public to report cases of swindling or “fixing” that may come to your attention. You may reach the Embassy at tel: 482-4354, 480-1918 or email:   rype@riyadhpe.com .

Mr. Warren Villegas Soriano (Photo courtesy of Joseph Espiritu)

Mr. Warren Villegas Soriano (Photo courtesy of Joseph Espiritu)

Also a month ago, ccording to the sworn complaints, a group of Filipinos went to Riyadh International Airport based on promises made by MR. WARREN VILLEGAS SORIANO that they will be issued exit visas at the airport through an alleged high ranking official. The travel documents submitted by the group to Mr. Soriano were returned with exit visa reference codes. Mr. Soriano also indicated the seat numbers of the victims in the same Travel Document and claimed that they have each been booked flights to the Philippines. Each of the victims paid Mr. Soriano various amounts in facilitating the issuance of their exit visas.The advisory said Filipinos who have violated the Kingdom’s immigration and labor regulations and would like to obtain the issuance of exit visas  under the correction period may only be done through concerned Saudi authorities.

The Embassy strongly advises all Filipinos in Saudi Arabia against any dealings with MR. WARREN VILLEGAS SORIANO and any other individuals who promise to facilitate issuance of exit visas for any amount. The Embassy has not authorized any individual to facilitate issuance of exit visas in exchange for any payment.” the Embassy advisory reads.

The exit visa reference codes indicated on the Travel Documents purportedly facilitated by Mr. Soriano were verified to be SPURIOUS after the victims were denied by Saudi immigration authorities at the airport.

The Embassy in their previous advisories also reminded Filipinos in the Kingdom not to deal Pag-IBIG and SSS related transactions to  certain Mr. Richard Pagaduan Bernabe, as it illegal and any payment made to him will not be recognized by Pag-IBIG Fund and SSS.For information, call the following Pag-IBIG Fund numbers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: 0537980452 (Riyadh) 053117706 (Al-Khobar) and 0564947732 (Jeddah). For Social Security System or SSS; you may call or text to 0500972728(Danny-Riyadh), 0531215972(Jerry-Riyadh), 0531242183 (Roue-Al-Khobar), 0558903597(John-Jeddah).

Last month, the Department of Trade and Industry  informed the public to regularly visit DTI’s website www.dti.gov.ph under the heading “Consumer Welfare and Business Regulation” and check from time to time the list of Freight Forwarding Companies not Accredited with Philippine Shipper’s Bureau; list of Philippine Agents/Freight Forwarders whose Formal Charges have been issued Decisions and list of Freight Forwarders whose complaints have been endorsed to the DOJ/Office of the City Prosecutor for criminal investigation as of August 30, 2013.  In this manner OFWs will be apprised and aware of the up to date information to avoid inconvenience when dealing with cargo forwarding companies. – BongA

KACST hold Grand Technology Parks conference

***

18/09/2013, RIYADHKing Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology-KACST,  both the Saudi Arabian national science agency and national laboratories whose function involve science and technology policy making in the Kingdom will hold today, 18 September 2013 a conference that will advance the development of science parks & technology incubators in the country.

GTPThe event called “Grand Technology Parks” key drivers to knowledge-based economy and society will be attended by various stakeholders and speakers like; Dr. Irwin Jacobs from Qualcolm, USA, Dr. Hermann Hauser of ARM Holding and Amadeus Capital of U.K., Prof. Timothy Tong President of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Mr. Falk Strascheg founder of  Strascheg Center of Entrepreneurship in Germany and Myla Villanueva of Venture Capital and Wireless Wings from Philippines.

Science and Technology Parks offer a number of shared resources, such as incubators, programs and collaboratiove activities where innovation is key. It is a physical place that supports university-industry and government collaboration with the intent of creating high technology economic development and advancing knowledge.

 The speaker from Philippines, Myla Crespo-Villanueva is a technology entrepreneur and the 1st Filipino to win the Ernst and Young Woman Entrepreneur Award 2003″.  EY is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It was the third largest professional services firm in the world by aggregated revenue in 2012 and is one of the “Big Four” accounting firms. 

Myla Villanueva  has founded five start-ups and corporations in Asia over the past 25 years, and is a leader in the Philippine IT industry. She is Chairman of the MDI Group, a pioneer and leading systems Integrator and partner of IBM, Dell, Apple, Cisco, Juniper, SaleForce.com and Blackberry in the Philippines.

Speakers from the Kingdom are  Dr. Anas Alfaris, the Director of the Joint Centers of Excellence Program (JCEP) of KACST and hold the position as Co-Director of Center of Complex Engineering Systems (CCES) at KACSTAhmad Al-Yamani, the Chief Operating Officer at TAQNIA and Vice Secretary General for Sustainable Development and Authority Affairs. He also served as the Chief Technology Officer of SAGIA; and Nawaf A. Al-Sahhaf, the CEO of BADIR Program for Technology Incubation, also of KACST.  

The delegation of successful entrepreneurs and innovators will also visit Taif University the next day 19 September 2013 to meet students and faculty staff of the university and local officials.

Exclusive report By:   M. Amora (DIC-KACST)

Overstaying Filipinos Should Proceed NOW to Jawazat

 *** 

(Riyadh, September 2013) – The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh renews its call to all overstaying Filipinos in the Kingdom to proceed NOW to the Deportation Office and avail of the facilities under correction period before the 03 November 2013 deadline.

Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Ezzedin H. Tago, today renewed the Embassy’s call to all Filipinos who have violated the Kingdom’s immigration and labor regulations to immediately proceed to the Deportation Office (Jawazat Wafideen) in Riyadh to avail of the facilities under the correction period before the deadline on 03 November 2013.

He advised all overstaying Filipinos in Riyadh to proceed now to the Deportation Office (Jawazat Wafideen) and avoid delays in the processing of their documentation by Deportation authorities especially before the E’id il Adha holidays from 11 to 20 October 2013.

The Embassy calls on all overstaying Filipinos in Riyadh to proceed NOW to the Deportation Office and avail of the facilities under the correction period before 03 November 2013 and avoid penalties and imprisonment,” said Ambassador Tago.

Ambassador Tago also noted that a total of 3,020 Filipinos have been repatriated through PHL government funds by the Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate General in Jeddah since the start of the correction period. The Embassy and the Consulate General will continue to provide assistance for the repatriation of Filipinos during the correction period.

 For those in Riyadh, the schedule at Jawazat Wafideen are as follows:

For WOMEN

When  :    Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Where:     Women’s Section, Jawazat Wafideen
Times :     From 5:00 PM
Requirements   :   Original iqama; or  Original passport with entry visa or records; or  Those with fingerprint (basamat) record or printout  Valid Travel Document or passport

For MEN

When  :         Thursdays
Where:         Women’s Section, Jawazat Wafideen
Times :         From 5:00 PM
Requirements  :  Original iqama; or Original passport with entry visa or records; or  Those with fingerprint (basamat) record or printout  Valid Travel Document or passport

All Filipinos are also reminded of the following:

1) Proceed early at Wafideen. Nationals from other countries are also included in the designated schedule for Filipinos;

2) Ensure that there are no pending car registrations, bank loans, or unpaid traffic violation penalty or any other records under your name before proceeding to Wafideen. Those who have pending blotter or police records will also not be issued exit visas.

3) Ensure that all documents presented are authentic. Possession of fake documents may result in imprisonment.

For those in the Eastern Region, the Jawazat in Dammam accepts Filipino any day of the week.

For Filipinos who do not have (1) original iqamas; or (2) original passport with entry visa records; or (3) those whose fingerprints have not been registered in the Immigration database or those who cannot secure a printout of their immigration records are advised to coordinate with the Embassy. Such cases will be brought by the Embassy to the attention of concerned Saudi authorities. END  ( No. PR-155-2013 )
Jawasat%20Map

Over 100 Filipino groups to hold key poll on Friday

***

09/11/2013, QATAR:  More   than 100 Filipino groups recognised by the Philippine embassy in Doha   are expected to hold an election of officers of a newly-formed umbrella   organisation on September 13 (Friday).

In a circular e-mailed to  Gulf  Times recently, the embassy disclosed that United Filipino   Organisations in Qatar (UFOQ) will organise and spearhead major   activities for the Filipino community. It will plan and execute   programmes for the welfare of expatriates, including the annual   Philippine Independence Day celebration. It will also represent the   Filipino community at various official gatherings and events in the   country.

qrVice-consul Melvin Almonguera told Gulf Times that chairman,   secretary and treasurer made up the three elective positions for UFOQ.   The election will start at 2pm at the new chancery in the Jelaiah  area.

He  added that representatives who will attend the elections  are the only  persons eligible to be nominated and elected. Embassy  officials will  serve as the Commission on Elections.

Leaders of  various professional  organisations (such as accountant, architect, and  engineer groups) are  expected to vie for the three positions. 

Those  who have announced  their candidature include Jhin Tabuzo from the  United Architects of the  Philippines and Delfin Montenegro from the  Samahang Batangueno Qatar  (SBQ). Lyndon Magsino from the Philippine  Institute of Certified Public  Accountants was also mentioned by some  expatriates.

The organisations  that will participate on Friday  include the Philippine Institute of  Civil Engineers, Minsubasta,  Philippine Association of Safety Engineers,  United Pinoy Motor and  Motorcycle Group, and Foundation for Family and  Life Qatar Migrant  Workers. Dozens of sports, medical and artists’  groups as well as fraternities have confirmed their attendance.

It  is learnt that some aspirants have started seeking the endorsement of  other organisations while some groups have openly announced their  choice  by using Facebook since last week.

In the same circular, the embassy   reminded participants that an organisation may be represented by its   president or chairman or any designated representative with a written   authority signed by their  top officials.

In the meeting, the   chairman of the Philippine Independence Day Organising Committtee 2013   will also present his financial report regarding the event held on June   14. Almonguera had earlier said that there is also a need to streamline   the accredited groups. This, he stressed, will make information   dissemination easier and faster.

The vice-consul has expressed  optimism that the move will allow them, as well as community leaders, to   monitor and get updates from each group.  – GULF TIMES

DTI and AISL signs MOA to Address Abandoned or Undelivered Balikbayan Boxes

***

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) signs MOA to Address Abandoned or Undelivered Balikbayan Boxes

b567dae5cb7e9adbc0464bd4a5df766b_M(Riyadh, 29 August 2013) – On 10 July 2013, the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) as an additional measure to address the problem of abandoned and/or undelivered balikbayan boxes. The signing of the agreement was in response to the numerous complaints that the DTI received from various overseas Filipinos worldwide and their relatives. The MOA’s objectives are: 

  1. To minimize, if not eliminate, the incidence of abandoned and undelivered balikbayan boxes resulting from failure of unscrupulous foreign consolidators to remit funds to their Philippine agents.
  2. To ensure that the Philippine agents, acting as consignees of consolidated balikbayan boxes, are DTI-accredited and reputable companies.
  3. On the part of the shipping lines, to minimize the incidence of shipping containers lying idle and unproductive for long periods of time at ports of destination.
  4. To contribute to reducing the level of congestion at Manila Harbor and Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) due to abandoned containers of balikbayan boxes. 

AISL is a non-stock and non-profit corporation which consists of 41 container shipping lines calling and visiting the Philippine ports and the recognized spokesman of international container shipping in the Philippines. Under the agreement, as part of the screening of incoming shipments, the DTI will furnish the AISL the list of accredited freight forwarding companies and the watchlist of delinquent foreign consolidators and their local counterparts as guide and ground for either accepting or denying bookings of balikbayan boxes. Shipments of foreign consolidators whose Philippine agents are not DTI-accredited may also be denied. 

DTI advises overseas Filipinos and their consignees in the Philippines not to do business with freight forwarding companies not accredited with DTI’s Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB). 

The implementation of the signed MOA will take effect immediately. 

For an up-to-date list of accredited sea freight forwarders, one may visit the DTI website www.dti.gov.ph or call DTI’s direct telephone number (+963.2) 7513330. 

Any complaints on undelivered, pilfered, damaged or loss of balikbayan boxes should be submitted through an affidavit to DTI-PSB through fax (+963.2) 7513305 or email at  dti_psb@yahoo.com.ph . Complainants may also call (+963.2) 7513330. (END)   Philippine Embassy in Riyadh / Press Release No. No. PR-151-2013

***

PHILIPPINE SHIPPERS’ BUREAU
Registration and Accreditation Division
List of Registered/Accredited Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) and Int’l. Freight Forwarders (IFFs)
as of 30 August 2013

click to see the list here>>>>>>>  

PHILIPPINE SHIPPERS’ BUREAU
Registration and Accreditation Division
List of Companies with Domestic Freight Forwarder Accreditation
as of 30 August 2013

click to see the list here>>>>>>   

Freight Forwarding Companies not Accredited with Philippine Shipper’s Bureau

click to see the list here>>>>> 

List of Philippine Agents/Freight Forwarders whose Formal Charges have been issued Decisions as of August 30, 2013

click to see the list here>>>>> 

List of Freight Forwarders whose complaints have been endorsed to the DOJ/Office of the City Prosecutor for criminal investigation as of August 30, 2013

click to see the list here>>>>>  

List of Foreign Principals/Consolidators under investigation as of August 30, 2013

click to see the list here>>>>>  

Know your insurance rights, GOSI tells expats

***

RIYADH – The General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) launched on Sunday an awareness campaign enlightening foreigners about their insurance rights against vocational hazards.

GOSI Governor Solaiman Al-Quwaiz told the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) that the campaign was within the continued efforts to spread social insurance awareness especially among non-Saudi subscribers.

Click Image: "Legal expat workers eligible for GOSI"

Click Image: “Legal expat workers eligible for GOSI”

In addition to newspapers, TV channels, publications, billboards and electronic sites, there will be special teams from the organization visiting foreigners at their work places to enlighten them about the insurance rights, Al-Quwaiz said.
He said the campaign will be in four languages: Arabic, English, Hindi and Urdu.There are more than 6.3 million foreigners registered with GOSI.GOSI implements social insurance rules, collects contributions from employers and pays benefits to entitled insured persons and their family members.

Calculations for GOSI are based on earning of an employee (Basic Salary + Housing Allowance) of a particular Organization. Calculations are divided into 3 categories: GOSI for Saudi citizens, GOSI for GCC (Gulf Corporation Council) nationals, and GOSI for non-Saudis.

Under a new scheme introduced recently by the Ministry of Labor, expatriate workers become beneficiaries of GOSI.
The date on which a non-Saudi worker arrives in the Kingdom or the date on which his service is transferred to another employer will be considered the date of his registration with the professional hazards division of GOSI.

In the event that the non-Saudi contributor sustains a work injury, he will be compensated with a lump sum amount. If the injury results in a permanent total disability the injured is entitled to a lump sum compensation of 84 months of the benefit value, which he was supposed to receive up to a maximum of SR330,000.

The calculation of the compensation takes into account the amount of the assistance of other allowances decided by the competent medical board. If the person’s injury results in partial disability, then the injured is entitled to a lump sum compensation equivalent to 10 years of the value of the assumed benefit up to a maximum of SR165,000.

If the injury results in the death of the contributor, his family members receive a lump sum compensation equivalent to 84 months. It is calculated on the basis of the benefit, which he was supposed to receive up to a maximum of SR330,000. It is equally distributed among the family members.  SAUDI Gazette 2/09/2013

ofwempowerment related link, read here>>>>>

This service lets you know whether you are registered in GOSI system or not. Click here>>>  and enter your iqama ID number.