Know your insurance rights, GOSI tells expats

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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.

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Not anymore a question of morality

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Ten thousand or more undocumented OFWs in the Kingdom are comprised of runaway workers  and almost half of them are women.  That includes undocumented mothers and children.   

fearsThe Philippine Embassy in Riyadh as of 21 August reported that 1,351 distressed OFWs from Riyadh and Eastern region and 881 in Jeddah as of 13 August have been repatriated during the correction period. Others are waiting for tickets that will be shouldered by the Philippine government. 

Many Filipino runaways without recourse enter into a forbidden relationship for support, shelter and companionship. To them, single or married back home, the reality is not anymore a moral question. The most important is to live and let the future tell its story. First and foremost the reason is, as undocumented workers with no marriage certificate, work permits and passport it would be very difficult for runaways to obtain legal documents for their child’s birth. The strict guidance of the country’s Shariah law, birth out of wedlock is immorality and  punishable with imprisonment before deportation.      

 I admit that were many times that this blogger wants to tell the untold stories about our fellow OFW runaway’s situation in Saudi Arabia. There was also a time that I attempted to write stories about how fellow OFWs obtained  fake marriage documents from our very own National Statistics office at home in order to roam around freely, raised children in Saudi Arabia out of wedlock. However, as a Filipino I am hesitant to do so thinking that I will be violating their private life and who I am to judge them anyway, “let who without sin, cast the first stone.

 That is why, I am asking to those undocumented mothers and children who are still out there to heed the call of the Saudi government amnesty program and go home for good.  A better future for your children lies ahead,  not here but at home.

First you must comply the procedure and other requirements, our Philippine mission in KSA will help you in the process. Though it will take time to process your documents due to DNA testing, This requirement for a genetic reconstruction is required to determine the biological relationship of a child to both parents.

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh announced today that the Second Batch of DNA Results for mothers and children are released. Our embassy informs all mothers with children who submitted themselves for processing and DNA testing who want to be repatriated that the DNA results of those with the DNA processing numbers have been released. 

Those with these numbers will be processed through Jawazat at Wafideen in Shumeisy starting next week on Sunday 25 August. The Embassy will call the concerned to inform them of their schedule at the Jawazat for fingerprinting and issuance of exit visa.

So, to all of you out there, this is once in a lifetime opportunity, this is not anymore a question of morality but a question of how to raise your children without fear of prosecution and punishment. Remember a quote that says, “Eve in the garden gives Adam a hard on and no one will pardon the snake look who invents him and later torments him, then makes us repent our mistakes.” -  BongA

How to recruit a household worker from the Philippines

LOGO%20EmbRIYADH, 08/08/2013: Under the recent agreement between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia signed on 18 May 2013, all recruitment of Filipino household workers (drivers, domestic helper, gardener, etc) should be through an accredited Saudi recruitment agency which should have a partner agency in the Philippines.

The Philippine Embassy and its labor section (POLO) verifies the contract which is also authenticated by the Embassy. This is a requirement before any worker leaves the Philippines.

The employer should therefore first seek an accredited Saudi recruitment agency.

For each worker, there should be an individual employment contract.

The agency shall submit to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh the following:

•Transmittal indicating the full name of the employer, visa number, name of the employee, and passport number of the employee.
•Individual employment contract with the following requirements
•the contract must be on the agency letterhead
•the contract must be typewritten in Arabic and English
•all pages must be signed by the employer, the Saudi agency, the Filipino employee, and the Philippine agency, and stamped by the Saudi agency.
•Original copy of the visa slip
•Copy of the worker’s passport
•One set of all the documents

POLO accepts a maximum of 10 contracts from each agency every day. POLO accepts contracts for verification at 8AM. Releasing of verified and authenticated contracts is on the following day at 4:30PM.

Embassy Urges Filipinos to Go to Jawazat for Exit

More than 700 get Exit Visa since 3 July, Over 700 Repatriated on GPH (Government of the Philippines) Expense

RIYADH, 28/07/2013: The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh urges all Filipinos in Riyadh and Eastern Region who will go on final exit and are qualified under the guidelines of the correction period, which has been extended to 3 November 2013, to secure their exit visa as soon as possible.

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Amb. Ezzedin Tago & Labor Attache Adam Musa talk to Filipinos at Jawasat (Shumeisy)

The Embassy has also booked and purchased 652 tickets for distressed Filipinos in Riyadh, and 123 for those in the Eastern Region or a total of 775 as of 27 July, with around 150 passengers still being booked on flights before the end of this month.

“We think the process to get a final exit visa in Riyadh is simpler than before 3 July. A person who is qualified under the guidelines and has no pending case gets their exit visa on the same day. This system is simpler than in the past where there was a waiting period, and the person had to go to the airport Jawazat to get their exit visa number”, said Ambassador Tago.

“I visited the Jawazat at Shumeisy several times since 3 July, and the process is now much simpler. I thanked the Jawazat officials who have been very accommodating and they stressed their full cooperation to ensure that everyone is helped,” Ambassador Tago said.

The schedule for females at the Jawazat Wafideen is Tuesdays and Wednesdays (830PM to 230AM during Ramadhan) and Thursdays during the same time for males. Females who do not have their iqama or passport used during entry into the Kingdom and who have not undergone fingerprinting and other biometric intake should coordinate with POLO Riyadh for processing at the Social Welfare Authority.

The Embassy reminds all males to ensure that they have paid their traffic violation penalties, and have cleared their record of any vehicles previously on their record.

The Embassy is ready to help clear the record of those with a case filed against them at the police or Jawazat. END

Press Release No. PR-138-2013/28 July 2013

Dammam Court Forwards Lanuza’s File to Emir’s Office After Victim’s Family Sign the Court Decision

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 RIYADH 27/07/2013: Philippine Ambassador Ezzedin Tago returned to Riyadh from Dammam after a two day trip where he verified with the Court 3 that the family of the victim of Rodelio Lanuza has signed the court decision acknowledging their receipt of the blood money and their forgiveness to Rodelio Lanuza.

Ambassador Tago revealed that the court on 25 July formally forwarded the file to the Office of the Emir of the Eastern Region, after the victim’s family and the Judge had signed the court decision.

Dondon Lanuza

Dondon Lanuza

Ambassador Tago said “when it was confirmed that the court decision was already signed by the victim’s family and the Judge but it was not yet sent to the Emir’s Office since the supervising judge Usamah Al-Tayyar was on leave, I met on Wednesday 24 July with the Head of the Dammam Grand Court Judge Ibrahim Al-Sayyari and I briefed him on the reason for the delay. Judge Ibrahim Al-Sayyari summoned the court administrative supervisor and instructed him to prepare the endorsement and have the alternate judge sign the endorsement of the file.”

On 25 July, we went back to the court and ensured that the endorsement was signed and sent to the outgoing section for transmittal to the Office of the Emir of the Eastern Region,” added Ambassador Tago.

Earlier in the week, Ambassador Tago called Mr. Abu Saqr Al-Qahtani who is a relative of the victim to seek his help for the signing of the court decision. Abu Saqr had helped the Philippine Embassy and the Dammam Reconciliation Committee in February 2011 during the agreement with the family for the forgiveness.

Philippine Ambassador Ezzedin Tago reiterated the appreciation of the Philippine government to the family of Mohammad Saad Al-Qahtani for their forgiveness, and thanked the Dammam Reconciliation Committee headed by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Osaimeen and Sheikh Ali bin Ali for their continued help and assistance throughout the years in reaching out to the family.

I must also thank the Office of the Emir under the former and current Emirs and ultimately the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud who issued a royal order to pay the remaining 2.3 million to complete the blood money due to the family”, Ambassador Tago stressed.

The Embassy will check with the Office of the Emir whether it will issue the order for release, or will forward the file to the Ministry of Interior.END

Press Release No. PR-136-2013
26 July 2013

Pasaway – Part 2

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Masarap ang Bawal

To my fellow OFWs most particularly here in Saudi Arabia, I would like to remind you again that Saudi Arabia is a highly conservative country in which Islamic Law (Sharia) is strictly being enforced.  So, under  Sharia, no alcohol, pork products  and religious books  not related to Islam are allowed in this country. Therefore, as a visitor we are obliged to follow their rules. Once you broke the rules, believe me my friend you will be living like hell in their prison cell.

So, if you are a pasaway in our country, please don’t ever do it here because they’re not arresting you to be reformed but they will arrest you so that you will be punished. 

So, if you’re an alcoholic in our country, Saudi Arabia is the right place for you to be rehabilitated after all, kaya naman siguro magsaya without alcohol. 

I just found out reading a blog article “What A Fella Has To Do To Get A Drink Around The Muslim World” that Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia are all quite very wet, and alcohol is available in restaurants, bars and shops and Turkey is also full of bars and liquor stores. It also said, Bahrain has some of the wildest bars in the region BUT Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are completely dry, and there’s not a drop of legal alcohol found in this country.

Well, why the author of the article say so that “not a drop of legal alcohol”  found in this two particular countries? Know why? Because there are also “drops of illegal alcohol in Kuwait  and Saudi Arabia.

Sabi nga nila kung mayroong legal may illegal. Sabi rin ng iba mas masarap ang bawal (lalo na pag Pagibig).  Masarap nga ang bawal pero pag mahuli na at makulong sisisihin ang Embahada or Konsulado dahil wala raw itong nagawa o ginagawa upang sila’y mapalaya. Sus! Mary and Joseph naman kayo kabayan!  Yan ang sinasabi ko,  sa OAV pag parehistro o botohan, maraming sinasabi, kesyo dayaan lang daw, malayo ang Embahada, walang pamasahe. E, ngayong nasa kulongan kayo, makuha nyo pang mag-reklamo, hindi naman kayo botante o bumoboto, Pilipino ba kayo? 

Sadiki Juice

Let’s go back to the fun. This illegal alcohol in Saudi Arabia is popularly known as “Sadiki Juice”. But before we touch this Sadiki thing, according to a book I read titled “Blue Flame” it said: historically, alcoholic distillation began with the Arabs who, however, did not invent, but greatly improved the cumbersome methods used by the Greeks in distilling turpentine from rosin. It added that the Arabs were the first to distill wine, and wood alcohol is plainly Arabic in origin.” That is why alcoholic drinks are banned in this country because they know from the beginning that nothing ever good comes from drunkenness.

In Saudi Arabia there are expatriates and some of them Filipinos languishing in various jails caught drinking or in possession of this so called “Sadiki Juice”. However, drinking and selling are two different things, in which the latter is a serious offense that could lead to many months or perhaps years in jail, accompanied with caning or whipping, worse a death penalty. But the death penalty depends on the crime committed under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating liquor. The Death Penalty Worldwide website explained that Recidivism hadd  can be used as grounds for execution in Saudi Arabia (Recidivism means, a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; especially: relapse into criminal behavior. Source: Merriam Webster online dictionary).

So fellow OFWs and friends, if you want to have a party or gatherings, drinking sadiki  has nothing to do with having fun or not, as what I’ve said you can have fun without it. And why put your life, job, friends and your family at risk where you know already that drinking and possessing alcohol or intoxicating liquor is strictly prohibited in this country?  Bakit pa tayo magpasaway?

Babala sa mga Pasaway

In my previous posting, the Three Facets of Sexual Abuse, I pointed out that that it is so sad to think na ang mga taong may kayumangging balat, pango ang ilong at panot ay siya pang magpapahamak sa iyo, sa madaling salita kalahi mo, the very same people whom we believed to be on our side are the ones pushing us into the wall of limbo. 

"KAMOT SA LIKOD"

“KAMOT SA LIKOD”

Magsilbing babala sana ang posting na ito sa ating mga pasaway na kapwa pinoy sa Saudi Arabia.  Nais ko pong ipaalam sa inyo na may mga kababayan po tayong gumagala sa kaharian na ang misyon ay ipahamak ang ating kapwa kalahi. Ang mga taong ito ay mga ahente ng mga “mahabang balbas.” Kakaibiganin po nila ang mga pasaway sa sadiki. Mayroon rin po silang mga assets, at mga pain katulad po ng mga magagandang pinay na babae. Yayain po kayo ng babae na ito sa isang party at dahil nga alam nila na pasaway ka sa alak at alam mo kung saan ka kukuha, lalapitan po kayo o tatawagan, imbitahin sa isang pagsasalo sabay tanong kung ikaw ba ay may makukunan na sadiki. Ikaw naman na may alam kung saan kukuha, gagawa ng paraan upang magkaroon nito. Sa madali pong salita, dadalhin nyo po si sadiki sa babae o sa bahay tagpoan na kung saan doon magaganap ang kasiyahan. Lingid sa iyong kaalaman, pagdating mo pa lang at sa pagpaparada mo ng iyong sasakyan,  lalapit na po ang asset  nila sabay tapon o hulog ng pera sa iyong sasakyan. Sa di kalayoan paparating si mahabang balbas sabay halughog sa iyong minamanehong sasakyan at natural si sadiki ay naroroon at ang perang hinulog na may marka in other words, marked money. Dadalhin po kayo sa presinto habang makipag negosasyon sa iyo ang kapwa natin kalahi. Sa pagkakataong ito hihingan po kayo ng sampung libong riyal, depende po sa kanilang mabiktima. Kung alam nila na may pera ka tumataginting ang sampu hanggang labin-limang libo kapalit  sa iyong kalayaan. Kung ikaw ay pabagal-bagal kumilos sa paghahanap ng pera, timbog ka! Tutuloyan ka nila. Kawawa ka, makulong ka ng wala sa panahon. Kahihiyan ang aaabotin mo at pag-aalala naman ng iyong pamilya at mga kaibigan. Sa kabilang panig, si igan na babae at lalaki, pati ang asset nito ay  naghahatian na sa perang nakulimbat sa iyo. At alam mo ba igan kung ano ang kaso  mo?  Pushing or Selling liquor, na may mabigat na parusang pagkabalinggo ng anim na buwan hanggang isang taon o higit pa na may kasamang “kamot sa likod” (caning, flogging, whipping or lashing). Depende po kung ilang kamot sa isang araw hanggang matapos mo ang bilang na ipinataw sa iyo ng hukoman.

Kaya igan at kahanay kong OFW sa bansang Saudi Arabia, huwag ng pasaway at huwag basta basta magtiwala sa mga taong kausap mo lalong lalo na pag transakyon o Gawain ay illegal dahil wala po itong magandang kahinatnan. Alam nyo na pong bawal, huwag na pong gawin, huwag na pong magpasaway.

Alalahanin po natin na may mga bagay o pangyayaring hindi na kaya pang muling balikan upang ito ay itama. Ang naganap ay ganap na at ang pagsisisi ay laging nasa huli. Buksan natin ang ating isipan, huwag padalos-dalos ng desisyon at isantabi ang maka-mundong pangangailangan at higit sa lahat humingi ng gabay sa Panginoong Maykapal.  – Bong Amora

End of service benefits for domestic workers laudable

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The Saudi Council of Ministers through the recommendation made by the Ministry of Labor and its attached agencies announced a new law safeguarding the rights of domestic workers in the Kingdom.  One of them is the end-of-service benefits that will be given to the worker after four years of service. The OFWs in the Kingdom welcome the moved of the Saudi government for this very laudable action on their part to compensate the tons of sweats pouring out from the brows of our domestic workers in a days, months and years of hard work and perhaps humiliation in the hands of harsh employers. We can’t deny that not all employers are treating their domestic workers well but as what the good Labor Minister Adel Fakeih said “the law aims at regulating relationship between domestic help and their employers while explaining their rights and duties and punishment for violators of contract terms”.   

The Labor Agreement signed by both countries during the visit of Philippine Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz last May of this year includes: weekly rest days and daily rest periods, paid vacation leave, non-withholding of passports and work permits, free communication and humane treatment. The new law states same provisions as stipulated in the agreement that was agreed by both parties except for the ESB that was announced just recently. 

Though, I have still doubts that under the same sponsorship system non-withholding of passports and work permits will never be realized or be implemented.   

Also under the new agreement, some Saudi employers are complaining that Saudi recruitment agencies are asking SAR 13,000 or more in hiring domestic workers from the Philippines. According to some of my Saudi friends, same amount still to be paid for a pre-selected (of their choice) domestic worker. In case of pre-selected worker, the local recruitment agency will not replace any one found not suited to the job. In other words, not responsible to whatever complaint the employer may raised during the period of the employment contract. Domestic work is a large and growing sector of employment (Photo taken from WIEGO)

Moreover, the Philippine recruitment agency and local agency will work side by side in the selection process and are responsible or accountable to any uncertainties that may happen within the contract duration of the domestic worker. Secondly in the first 90 days, the recruitment agency is resposible for; replacement of a new one in case the domestic worker is not suited for the job, runaway from the employer, accountable if the domestic worker steals from the employer or any other problems that may occur during the 90 days provisionary period. 

According to WIEGO, a global action-research-policy network “domestic workers provide essential services that enable others to work outside the home, thus facilitating the functioning of labor market and the economy” and having an End of Service Benefits to our domestic workers is a commendable move on the part of Saudi government.  – BongAmora

Philippine Embassy Warns Against Use of Fake Marriage Contracts or Other Fake Documents

 

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 (Riyadh, 16 July 2013) – The Philippine Embassy warns all Filipinos that the use of fake marriage contracts or any other fake “authenticated” documents is illegal and contrary to both Philippine and Saudi Arabia’s laws.

Anyone caught using or holding a fake marriage contract or other fake authenticated document can be held liable for violation of these laws.

confiscated

Confiscated Fake Documents (Click Here)

 The Embassy reminds all Filipinos to refrain from dealing with “fixers” or middlemen in Saudi Arabia or in the Philippines, who pose as Embassy officials, and promise to procure these fake documents in exchange for cash.

 All genuine Embassy-issued documents as well as all Embassy transactions along with their corresponding fees can be found at its website.

 All Embassy officials and personnel, including their designations are also listed on the website. (END)

 TAGALOG VERSION:

200810_the-proposal-posterABISO PAGGAMIT NG PEKENG MARRIAGE  CONTRACTS O IBA PANG PEKENG DOKUMENTO AY ILEGAL AT MAHIGPIT NA IPINAGBABAWAL 

(Riyadh, 16 July 2013) – Pinapaalalahanan ng Embahada ang lahat ng mga Filipino na ang paggamit ng mga pekeng marriage contracts o iba pang mga pekeng dokumento ay illegal at mahigpit na ipinagbabawal. Ito ay labag sa batas ng Pilipinas pati na rin sa batas ng Saudi Arabia.

Ang sinumang mahuling gumagamit ng mga pekeng marriage contract o iba pang pekeng dokumento ay maaaring patawan ng parusa sa paglabag sa mga batas na ito.

Hindi kailanman pinapayagan ng Embahada ang paggamit ng mga pekeng dokumento na ito. Patuloy na kukumpiskahin ng Embahada ang mga pekeng dokumento na ito. Ilalathala din ng Embahada ang mga pekeng dokumento nito sa website sa http://www.philembassy-riyadh.org para magsilbing paalala at kalinawan sa lahat.

Muling pinapaalalahanan ng Embahada ang lahat ng Filipino na umiwas makipagtransaksyon sa mga “fixer” o “middlemen” dito sa Saudi Arabia o sa Pilipinas, na nagpapanggap na mga taga-Embahada, at nangangakong kumuha ng mga pekeng dokumento na ito kapalit ng pera or halaga.

Ang lahat ng mga dokumento at mga transaksyon na nanggagaling at nangyayari sa Embahada pati na rin ang karampatang kabayaran sa mga ito ay matatagpuan sa website nito.

Ang lahat rin ng mga opisyales at empleyado ng Embahada, pati na rin ang kanilang mga posisyon, ay matatagpuan din sa website. (DULO)

Philippine Embassy in Riyadh Press Release  No. PR-131-2013

Know your Philippine Embassy and Consulate Officials

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Surfing the Philippine Embassy website is one of the tasks I include in my morning routine, of course at the same time with a cup of coffee. Been doing it for the past two years in lookout for interesting information that I might be going to share here with you in our ofwempowerment blog.

philempersFor almost a year now since I decided to rest for a while in community service and activities; reading important events, news and advisories at PhilEmb website makes me still feel connected with the community that I’ve been serving for the past 20 years as one of the community leaders in the Kingdom. The last time I was with Filipino Community event when  Mr. Ernie Perez  the newly elected Global President of United Filipinos Worldwide for Community Development (UFWCD) asked me to be the Master of Ceremony  in the last September launching of  PHLPost e-Postmo service.  UFWCD is a SEC registered organization of OFWs worldwide where I was appointed as  UFWCD-Riyadh Chapter adviser.

And during the past few months surfing the Embassy website, I noticed that many new Foreign Service Officers from Manila were posted in Saudi Arabia to fill those who ended their tour of duty.

First Secretary and Consul Mohd. Noordin Lomondot, the Head of the Consular Section left on May 29, 2013 to assume as First Secretary and Consul in the Philippine Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Consul Lomondot also served as Philippine Consul General in Jeddah from 2004 to 2007. He was rumored to replace the then Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Tony Villamor however, the post of the Chief of Mission was given to the current H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago.

Section 29-Promotions of “Philippine Foreign Service Act of 1991″ states that “Career ministers and chiefs of mission, class I and II, shall not have grade classifications within each class. Seniority shall be determined by their original dates of appointment as career ministers, as well as the dates of their original entry into the Department.”

On May 31, 2011  Ambassador Tago was confirmed by the Senate Commission on Appointments as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Yemen. Among those confirmed  at that time by  CA was Career Minister Uriel Norman R. Garibay, now Minister and  Philippine Consul General in Jeddah.

I was one of those who lobbied for Ambassador Ezz Tago the then Minister/Consul General and Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy in Riyadh. I was also among the OFWS along with FilCom Jeddah leaders who pushed the appointment of  Career Minister  Norman Garibay who was at DFA-Manila overseeing the Office of European Affairs as Executive Director. But prior to that position, he was the First Secretary and Consul in Philippine Embassy in Canberra, Australia In 1993 when I was a neophyte 28 year old OFW in Jeddah, the good Consul General Norman Garibay was a young and blooming diplomat with a rank of Vice Consul.

Another Embassy official ended her two year tour of duty was Ms. Nilda Oliva, Social Welfare Attache from the DSWD. Attache Oliva was replaced by DSWD Social Welfare Attaché Ms. Perlita Panganiban whose prior appointment, served as Chief of Division in Institutional Development and head of Technical Division, of DSWD in Cordillera Administrative Region.

The young Minister ConGen Norman Garibay w/ FilCom Leaders in Jeddah

The young Minister ConGen Norman Garibay w/ FilCom Leaders in Jeddah

The Filipino community also welcomed Hon. Marshall Louis M. Alferez, who assume as Minister and Consul General in the Embassy. He will supervise the assistance-nationals sections (ANS) vacated by my sparkling friend Consul Atty. Roussel Reyes.  Alferez  in 1999 was posted in London as First Secretary and Consul  in charge of Political Section and eventually became Minister and Consul. He joined the Department of Foreign Service in 1996.

Just last month, former Philippine diplomat to France Hon. Winston Dean Siscon Almeda was designated Third Secretary and Vice Consul of Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, who replaced Consul Mohd. Noordin Lomondot as head of the Consular Section.From March 2008 to July 2009, Hon. Winston Almeda was Special Assistant in the Office of the Undersecretary for Special and Ocean Concerns, handling issues relating to the peace processes, maritime security and anti-terrorism.

If we have new career diplomats at Philippine Embassy, we have also newcomers, one of them is Ms. Maria Angelica Capili-Genotiva, Third Secretary and Vice Consul who joined the Department of Foreign Affairs on 7 July 2008. Ms. Genotiva passed the Foreign Service Examinations in 2007. Her first foreign assignment on 26 February 2011 at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Ms. Nora Jamil Nirza joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in November 2002. In the Home Office she was assigned at the Office of Consular Affairs. She is a graduate of BSC-Marketing (cum laude) from the University of San Jose Recoletos-Cebu.

Mr. Rene Diamante Salazar is a graduate of AB Economics from the Sacred Heart College in 1988. He joined the government service in July 2001. Initially, he was assigned at the Office of Consular Affairs as clerk and served in Lucena Regional Consular Office as Alternate Signing Officer. Prior to his assignment in Riyadh, Mr. Salazar has undergone seminars and training on Phil Passport: Production, Security Features and Fraud Detection; Course on Personality Enhancement and Public Service; Training on anti-Trafficking in Persons for Consular Officers, Protecting Domestic Workers from their Vulnerability to Forced Labor and Trafficking. He was a recipient of the Outstanding Employee award in 2006.

Less than a year ago, dynamic, energetic and respected career diplomat Mrs. Germinia V. Aguilar-Usudan assumed her duties as Consul in Jeddah. She was stationed at the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh as Second Secretary and Consul from 2002 to 2006.

Mrs. Aguilar-Usudan who is a lawyer, served as Principal Assistant at the Office of Consular Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs from June 1997 to October 1999, as Third Secretary and Vice Consul at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE (1999-2002). When she was placed back at DFA-Manila , she was the Vice Chairman of the Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat. After a two year stint in Manila she was posted back abroad as First Secretary and Consul at the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

You can surf the Philippine Embassy website at http://www.philembassy-riyadh.org/ or click this link to see the updated list of Philippine Embassy Personel http://www.philembassy-riyadh.org/index.php/about-us/embassy-personnel. For Philippine Consulate General located in Jeddah, please click the following link http://www.pcgjeddah.org/ .

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The U.S. Department of State in their website has labeled every non-European country a “hardship post” for their American diplomats and that include Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.

Factors considered belong to hardship post are difficult living conditions due to climate, crime, health care and pollution. Other factor like security issues, for example in a war torn Afghanistan.

Isang Taon pa...WARAY na!

Isang Taon pa…WARAY na!

Philippine government may consider Saudi Arabia a hardship post for their Filipino Foreign Service workers. Our government should compensate their hardship for taking care of our OFWs in distress, not to mention that there are estimated more or less 1 million Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia under their watch. For me, naturally they deserved 15% to 20% extra pay as “hardship differential”.  However in return, we are expecting our Foreign Service officers to serve heartily and provide adequate services to their kababayans especially to those OFWs in distress who needs their utmost care and attention.  Many of them are those in detention.  I am hoping that the new ANS Chief, the Minister and Consul General Marshall Louis M. Alferez will give his full attention to those fellow OFWs incarcerated in various jails of the Kingdom.

Well, as what I mentioned in my old blog post “from KSA to Washington DC, USA”,  after sakit sa ulo, after all the kunot noo, lagas ng buhok, and batikos from some community organization and press – to recompense all of the abovewill be a good posting and shining moments somewhere in the top 10 best cities of Europe and America. – BongAmora

Click here >>>>>>>> PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS LABOR OFFICE (POLO) PERSONNEL  AS OF JUNE 2013  

Clcik here >>>>>>>>PHILIPPINE EMBASSY ATTACHED AGENCIES PERSONNEL AS OF JUNE 2013

 

Source: Philippine Embassy-Riyadh website, Philippine Consulate in Jeddah website, U.S. Department of State website

King Extends Grace Period For Correcting Violating Workers’ Status

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EXPATS
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has directed to extend the grace period for correcting the status of violating workers until the end of the current Hijri year 1434 AH (November 3, 2013 Gregorian Calendar) as a maximum period.

The Ministry of Interior said in a statement issued today that the King issued his directive in pursuant to the royal directive to give a grace period to workers violating the system of work and residence for a maximum period of three months effective from the date of 25/05/1434 AH to correct their status, and based on what has been submitted by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, and Labor on full cooperation and rapid response from citizens, residents, and the business sector which resulted in correcting the status of large numbers of violators, and in the light of the full cooperation of the concerned embassies and consulates to meet the required documents and their desire as a result of the heavy pressure from workers to provide more time to correct their status, and in facilitation for citizens and residents who have dealt with this matter very seriously.

It said that the King has directed to extend the grace period for correcting the status of violating workers until the end of the current Hijri year 1434 AH as a maximum grace period and after that period, security and competent authorities shall start their campaigns and regular functions to detain violators in all regions of the Kingdom effective from Muharram 1, 1435 AH and all legal procedures shall be applied against violators.

The Ministries of Interior and Labor call on all concerned people to work to meet all the statutory requirements and correct their status as soon as possible within the referred period, otherwise those who do not respond positively, they shall be subject to maximum penalties in accordance with the provisions of the regulations.

Alriyadh Newspaper – JEDDAH – SPA: 2013-07-02 12:50:36

Special Licensure Exams in Riyadh and Jeddah on 15-17 October 2013

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Special Licensure Exams in Riyadh and Jeddah on 15-17 October 2013

In a press release posted on its website, The PROFESSIONAL REGULATION COMMISSION (PRC) announced that Special Licensure Board Examinations (SPLBE) will be conducted in the Middle East on October 15, 16 & 17, 2013.

 The testing centers and licensure board examinations are as follows:

   TESTING CENTERS   
   LICENSURE     EXAMINATIONS   
1. ABU DHABI, UAE

2. DOHA, QATAR

3. RIYADH, KSA

4. JEDDAH, KSA

1. ARCHITECTS

2. CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS

3. CIVIL ENGINEERS

4. REGISTERED ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS AND REGISTERED MASTER ELECTRICIANS

5. ELECTRONIC ENGINEERS

6. MECHANICAL ENGINEERS

7. NURSES    

Submission of list of pre-qualified applicants for the applicable licensure examination by POLO to PRC is until Thursday, August 15, 2013. Applicants may file their applications via On‑line Application System (OAS) which can be accessed at Philippine Embassy  website http://www.philembassy-riyadh.org/ .

Upon submission of the application for licensure examinations via OAS the following documents are to be submitted by the applicants to the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) at the respective Embassies/Consulates until Friday, September 13, 2013. (NOTE: Requirements can be browsed at the official website of PRC)

Basic Documents

Photocopy of Transcript of Records (with or without scanned picture and remarks “For Board Examination Purposes Only”)

Photocopy of valid passport

Four (4) passport size pictures with complete nametag in white background

Original copies of above mentioned documents shall be presented to the PRC examination team for validation upon their arrival at the examination venues.

Professional Regulatory Board (PRB) – Specific Original Documents

Filipino Architects at the Philippine Embassy during December 2010, Arki Board Exams (Photo by Architect Denick Carullo)

Filipino Architects at the Philippine Embassy during December 2010, Arki Board Exams (Photo by Architect Denick Carullo)

For Architects:

Accomplished Logbook for Diversified Experience for local/overseas experience (certified by mentor-architect) and/or Certificate of Related Work Experience for overseas experience signed by the employer for a minimum of 3,840 hours. Scanned copies shall be submitted through e-mail to the Board of Architecture for conditional approval.

Updated PRC ID of mentor, PTR, IAPOA

Affidavit must be signed and sealed by Architect-mentor

For Registered Master Electricians: Certificate of experience on prescribed form (PRC Form No. 104), certified and signed by REE/RME/PEE and Certification from the Company.

For CPAs: Certificate of Completion for refresher course if applicable. Repeaters shall submit proof of most recent exams taken (NOA, OR)

For Nurses: First Timer: BSN graduates under CMO No.14 S 2009- Certificate of Undertaking signed by the Dean and Registrar, duly notarized.

BSN graduates under CMO No.30 S 2001-original copy of the Summary of Related Learning Experience (RLE) and original copy of the OR-DR cases in the new format. Repeater: Basic Documents.

Payment of examination fees shall be remitted by the applicants/examinees through the designated Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) Overseas Remittance Offices (OROs).

Source: Philippine Embassy in Riyadh/  Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Press Release  No. PR-120-2013

Three facets of sexual abuse

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Case No. 1 = Silvio Berlusconi

The former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced yesterday to seven years in jail after being found guilty of paying for sex with an underage prostitute Karima El Mahroug. In Italy, paying a woman for sex who is underage is a criminal offense. Karima El Mahroug was 17 at the time of the sex with consent occurred. However, the exchange of sexual services for money in Italy is legal, but organized prostitution like brothels is prohibited and paying a person under 18 for sex is a crime.

Just-Ice Italy prohibits sexual acts to an unmarried person under the age of consent which is 14. If two people engage in sex below the age of consent and in the same age, both can be charged with misdemeanor while if the one is older than the victim, the older person is treated as a sex offender and can be charged with statutory rape.

The 76-year-old former Italian leader and media tycoon, who denied all the allegations, has also been banned from holding public office for life.

Case No. 2 = Name withheld

A man could be convicted of rape even if the woman agreed to have sex, judges have ruled.

He would still be guilty if he did something she asked him not to, a High Court panel led by England and Wales most senior judge ruled.

This is a case involving a wife who claimed her husband broke their agreement by failing to withdraw. The judge’s creed that the man would no longer have the consent because he intentionally ignored the limitations set by his wife before the act was decided.

The judges said, the wife was deprived of choice and her consent was invalid under the circumstances. She agreed to have sex with her husband after the latter promised to withdraw because she was adamant that not to have another child. The couple has four children, two girls and two boys; the youngest is four years old. But the husband went back on his word, making her pregnant.

The judges decided it falls within the statutory definition of rape. Though they informed the public that withdrawal is not a safe method of contraception.

The husband now faces prosecution for rape following the court’s ruling that, if he deliberately ignored his wife’s wish that he withdraw before ejaculation, she had not consented to sex.

Case No. 3 = Antonio Villafuerte

Presumed innocent until proven guilty, that’s the case of POLO Riyadh, Asst. Labor Attaché Antonio Villafuerte. He should be summoned to come home and faced his accuser, to speak and defend himself on the accusations of sexual abuse hurled to him by female OFW in distress.

The story published in Philippine daily newspapers narrated that female OFW in distress named “Michelle” went to the shelter (Filipino Workers Resource Center) waiting for her ticket. According to her the Assistant Labor Attaché Tony Villafuerte told her that an Egyptian will pay her ticket back home in return of a sex act but the Labor Attaché himself started to take advantage of her. But she refused, and also the Egyptian pitied her.

To my readers, please note that no sexual act took place or consummated , the word “take advantage on her” and the “the Egyptian pitied her” are clear enough that nothing happened yet. This is only in the case of Michelle. We don’t know yet if there are other signed complaints from more alleged victim.

The International Association of Women Judges based in Washington, USA says; people who occupy positions of authority and public trust sometimes abuse their power and seek to take advantage of those who are dependent on their favor. When the abuse of power involves a demand for sexual favors, we are naming it “sextortion.”

It is just so sad to think that the people we rely on to be on our side are the ones hurting us. However, we should be concerned about the idea that sometime allegation may be subject to false-accusations. This sits against one of the most important principles in law: a person is to be presumed innocent, until they are found to be guilty.

By: Bong Amora

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Hurry! Employers are Waiting For You..

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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

Minister of Interior Prince Muhammad bin Naif bin Abdulaziz issued a directive that non-Saudis or Expatriates convicted of crimes and sentenced to prison for three months or longer or to more than 40 lashes must be deported.

Interior Ministry also announced banning expatriates who have criminal records in GCC countries from entry to Saudi Arabia. Violators of the country’s residency laws will be banned from entering for three years for first-time violators and for life for second-time violators.

Deportation is applied against expatriates who perpetrate major crimes. First-time offenders in lesser crimes and sentenced to less than three months in prison or 40 lashes would not be deported but obliged to sign an undertaking. Second-time offenders will be deported.  (MOI 5/29/2013)

Announcement & Advisory from Philippine Embassy-Riyadh

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PANIBAGONG ABISO TUNGKOL SA LOST PASSPORT SERVICES PARA SA MGA “ABSCONDED” O TAKAS NA MANGGAGAWA

(RIYADH, ika-27 ng Mayo 2013) – Patuloy ang pag-conduct ng Embahada ng “Lost Passport” services sa consular field office nito sa International Philippine School of Riyadh (IPSR) para sa mga “absconded” o takas na manggagawa, kasama na rito ang mga nagtratrabaho sa employer na hindi nila orihinal na sponsor.

Ang consular field office na ito sa IPSR ay bukas hanggang Martes, ika-4 ng Hunyo 2013 lamang.

Dahil sa napakaraming manggagawa na nais makakuha ng “lost passport” services, kinailangan ng Embahada na gawing salitan ang pag-asikaso ng mga babae at lalake, ayon sa sumusunod na schedule: 

read more, click here >>>>PHILIPPINES

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Philippine Embassy in Riyadh To Go To Al-Khobar on 30-31 May to Extend Services for Those Who Need to Correct Status

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh will be in Al-Khobar on 30-31 May 2013 (Thursday and Friday) to extend services to Filipinos who need documents to correct their status before 3 July 2013. The services will be held at Al- Jazeera International School in Al-Khobar, from 8AM to 5PM on 30 May and 8AM to 3PM on 31 May.

The services will not include any consular services to the public other than those who need to correct their status.  The services will include the following: 

read more, click here>>>> PHILIPPINES

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Philippine Embassy Announces the Conduct of Special Professional Licensure Examinations for 2013

The Philippine Embassy announces that the Philippine Regulation Commission has issued Resolution No. 2013-739, Series of 2013 concerning the conduct of the Special Professional Licensure Board Examinations (SPLBEs) for Overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East for 2013. 

read more, click here>>>> PHILIPPINES

Philippine Airlines to resume flight operations to Saudi Arabia

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(RIYADH, 25 May 2013) – The Philippines’ national carrier, Philippines Airlines (PAL), is planning to resume its flight operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the near future.

(L-R) Embassy Political Assistant Lilian Adiong, PAL official Reynaldo Garcia, Kanoo Travel General Manager Sayed Mazher Ali, Consul-General Louis Alferez, PAL GSA Relations Manager Pocholo Azucena, Embassy Cultural Officer Taha Guinomla, and PAL International Revenue Management Manager Emmanuel Sison.

(L-R) Embassy Political Assistant Lilian Adiong, PAL official Reynaldo Garcia, Kanoo Travel General Manager Sayed Mazher Ali, Consul-General Louis Alferez, PAL GSA Relations Manager Pocholo Azucena, Embassy Cultural Officer Taha Guinomla, and PAL International Revenue Management Manager Emmanuel Sison.

Senior PAL officials called on Minister and Consul-General Marshall Louis Alferez at the Embassy on 23 May 2013 to share their plans for the resumption of direct PAL flights between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia in the near future. Ambassador Ezzedin Tago, who was originally scheduled to receive the PAL officials, was in the Eastern Region and unable to receive the PAL officials.PAL officials said that the flight services would involve newly acquired/purchased planes that could accommodate more than 300 passengers.

“As the national carrier, Philippine Airlines is always a source of pride to Filipinos overseas. If PAL does indeed resume its operations to Saudi Arabia soon, I am sure that it will be warmly welcomed by our kababayan here in the Kingdom,” said Consul-General Alferez.

The Consul General also told the PAL officials that there has been a notable increase in tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia to the Philippines, especially among families, from 22,214 in 2010, and 27,945 in 2011, to 30,040 visitors in 2012. He said that the future resumption of PAL flights in the Kingdom would further strengthen the Philippines’ ability to tap the huge Saudi tourism market. He further noted that many expressions of interest were received from the Saudi public during the Riyadh Travel Fair 2013 last 23-26 April 2013.

Philippine Ambassador Ezzedin Tago expressed confidence that the return of PAL would help boost Philippine tourism as well as provide alternatives to travelers to the Philippines.(END) – Philippine Embassy in Riyadh/No. PR-093- 2013

Embassy Does Not Have Workers for Transfer

LOGO%20EmbPhilippine Embassy in Riyadh
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Press Release
 No. PR-092- 2013

Embassy Does Not Have Workers for Transfer

(Riyadh, 25 May 2013) Since the announcement of guidelines for the correction of the status of workers on 10 May, many interested potential employers are crowding the Embassy and its consular outfield services looking for workers. The Embassy notes that it has received reports that an SMS message alleges that the Embassy has household workers for transfer of employment.

The Embassy also has received numerous inquiries asking for workers for transfer of employment in all categories especially household workers.

The Embassy it has no household workers available for transfer as alleged by widespread SMS messages, social media and Internet news. The Embassy is not a recruitment agency. Those looking for a household worker should contact an accredited recruitment agency.

The Embassy has also received offers for jobs for Filipinos, which it posts on a blog linked to its website, and on a board outside the Embassy. The Embassy stresses that it is not responsible for the transactions and agreements made between the companies and the Filipinos, and it does not endorse any of the companies. – end-

2013 Philippine Election Party List Winners

partylist winners

http://www.rappler.com

Fourteen out of 58 party-list seats up for grabs in the recently concluded midterm polls have been awarded on Friday, 24 May 2013 by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“The Comelec, sitting as NBOC, resolves to partially proclaim the 14 party-list groups as initial winners in the party-list elections of May 13, 2013, entitled to one guaranteed seat,” according to the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) Resolution 0006-13.

Entitled to a seat in the House of Representatives are:

 Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (Buhay)

Mariano Michael Velarde, Jr. (incumbent) / Lito Atienza / William Irwin Tieng (incumbent)

Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment Through Action Cooperation and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms (A Teacher)

Mariano Piamonte, Jr. (incumbent) / Julieta Cortuna (incumbent) / Nenita Habulan

 Bayan Muna

Neri Colmenares (incumbent) / Carlos Isagani Zarate / Hope Hervilla

1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy, Inc. (1-Care)

Edgardo Masongsong / Michael Angelo Rivera (incumbent) / Concordio Quisaot

 Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party (Akbayan)

Walden Bello /  Barry Gutierrez

Ako Bicol Political Party (AKB)

Christopher Co / Rodel Batocabe / Alfredo Garbin

Abono Party-list (Abono)

Conrado Estrella III / Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III (incumbent) / Erika Caitlin Dy

OFW Family Club (OFW Family)

Roy Señeres, Sr. / Juan Johnny Revilla / Roy Señeres, Jr.

Gabriela Women’s Party (Gabriela)

Luzviminda Ilagan (incumbent) / Emerenciana de Jesus (incumbent) / Lucia Francisco

Cooperative Natcco Network Party (Coop Natcco)

Cresence Paez (incumbent) / Anthony Bravo / Herminio Hernandez

Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines (AGAP)

Nicanor Briones (incumbent) / Rico Geron / Arnel Marasigan

 Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (Cibac)

Luis Lokin, Jr. / Bibiano Rivera, Jr. / Antonio Manahan, Jr.

 Magdalo Para sa Pilipino (Magdalo)

Gary Alejano / Francisco Ashley Acedillo / Manuel Cabochan

An Waray

Neil Benedict Montejo / Jude Acidre / Victoria Isabel Noel

How to fill the 58 party-list seats >>>>> CLICK folder  PHILIPPINES

Abiso Ukol sa “Lost Passport” para sa mga Absconded o Takas na Manggagawa

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LOGO%20Emb(Riyadh, ika-22 ng Mayo 2013) – Ang Embahada ng Pilipinas sa Riyadh ay magsasagawa ng consular field office para sa “lost passport” ng mga absconded o takas na manggagawa, kasama rin ang mga manggagawang nagtratrabaho sa employer na hindi nila orihinal na sponsor.

Ang mga detalye ng consular field office na ito ay:

ANO: Consular Field Office Para sa Lost Passport

SAAN: International Philippine School-Riyadh (IPSR)
011 Mamar Al-Burtuqaal St.
Haya Malik Fahad District, Riyadh

KAILAN: Sabado, ika-25 ng Mayo 2013 hanggang Martes, ika-4 ng Hunyo 2013
Pwera ang Huwebes at Biernes Magmula ala-1 ng hapon hanggang alas-7 ng gabi

Ang consular field office na ito ay para lamang sa mga absconded worker o takas na manggagawa, kasama na rin ang mga nagtratrabaho sa mga employer na hindi nila orihinal na sponsor, na nawala na o hindi makita ang kanilang mga pasaporte at nais makakuha ng bago para makapag-trabaho dito sa Saudi Arabia.

Ang mga requirements para sa lost passport ay:

Application Form (na libreng makukuha sa International Philippine School-Riyadh).
Kopya ng nawalang pasaporte (o di kaya’y numero ng pasaporte kung ito’y inyong naaalala).
Affidavit of Loss (na makukuha sa International Philippine School-Riyadh).

Bayad:
SAR 460.00 kung ang nawalang passport ay green (MRP) o maroon (MRRP)
SAR 700.00 kung ang nawalang passport ay maroon na may chip (e-Passport)

Hindi na kailangan ang “police report” o “Jawazat report” para sa consular field office na ito.

Lahat ng passport ay ginagawa sa Pilipinas at ang mga ito’y makukuha lamang dito sa Saudi Arabia pagkatapos ng 45 na araw mula sa pag-apply nito.

Ang mga nawalang ng passport na nais nang umuwi at hindi na magtratrabaho ay hindi dapat pumunta sa consular field office na ito. Kailangan nila ng libreng Travel Document, na makukuha naman sa Elite International School hanggang Miyerkules, ika-28ng Hunyo 2013. Tandaan na ang mga serbisyo sa Elite International School ay para lamang sa Travel Document, releasing of surrendered passport, at pag-renew/extend ng surrendered passport.

Pinaaalala ng Embahada na ang grace period ng Gobyernong Saudi para ayusin ang estado ng paninirahan at pagtratrabaho ay hanggang ika-3 ng Hulyo 2013 lamang. (END)

(Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia/ Press Release No. PR-091- 2013)

Saudi-Philippine labor pact formally takes effect

Philippine Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz and Saudi Deputy Labor Minister Mufarrej bin Saad Al-Haqbani exchange documents after signing the labor agreement. (AN photo)

Philippine Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz and Saudi Deputy Labor Minister Mufarrej bin Saad Al-Haqbani exchange documents after signing the labor agreement. (AN photo)

RIYADH: Philippine Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz and Saudi Deputy Labor Minister Mufarrej bin Saad Al-Haqbani signed a labor agreement Sunday on the hiring of Filipino household service workers (HSWs). Al-Haqbani signed on behalf of Labor Minister Adel Fakeih.“The agreement is historic and today is a very significant day in Philippine-Saudi bilateral relations,” said Baldoz. The agreement is the first by the Saudi Ministry of Labor with a manpower-supplying country.

“This agreement heralds an era of stronger bilateral labor cooperation between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia for the protection and welfare of Filipino HSWs in the Kingdom,” she said.

The agreement comes after Saudi Arabia and the Philippines agreed on a standard labor contract last year, which shall govern the employment of HSWs in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Press Agency reported that the agreement is for five years and can be extended automatically for similar periods. It will also incorporate the formation of a joint working group to meet on a regular basis to discuss and resolve the problems of HSWs who include housemaids, baby sitters, laundrywomen, family drivers, cooks and gardeners.

“We expect that 60,000 out of an estimated 670,000 OFWs in Saudi Arabia will immediately benefit from this agreement, which lays down areas of cooperation between the two countries,” Baldoz said.

The agreement includes the following:

1. A mutually acceptable recruitment and deployment system;

2. The recruitment of domestic workers through agencies that practice ethical recruitment and are licensed by their respective governments;

3. Prohibition of charging or deducting any cost attendant to recruitment and deployment from the worker’s salary;

4. The right of recourse to authorities in case of contractual disputes in accordance with applicable laws and regulations;

5. Legal measures against recruitment offices, companies or agencies for any violation of applicable laws, rules and regulations; and

6. Resolution of any issue arising from the implementation and enforcement of the agreement.

read more>>>>>

Embassy Opens Field Office for Travel Documents and Releasing of Surrendered Passports

LOGO%20EmbEmbassy Opens Field Office for Travel Documents and Releasing of Surrendered Passports

The Filipino community is advised that the Philippine Embassy will be opening a field office in Riyadh for the following consular services:

WHAT :       CONSULAR FIELD OFFICE FOR

  • Travel Documents
  • Releasing of Found Surrendered Passports
  • Extension of Found Surrendered Passports
  • Requesting Search for Surrendered Passports

WHERE  :       ELITE International School ( Olaya District, P.O. Box 60949, Riyadh 11555)

WHEN     :       Saturday, 18 May 2013 – Wednesday, 5 June 2013  (Saturdays to Wednesdays, 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM)

The Embassy would like to remind Filipinos that the current grace period of the Saudi Government for correcting irregular residency and labor status ends on 3 July 2013. 

Those who have no new employer to transfer to, especially those without a valid passport, are advised to go home to the Philippines before the end of the grace period. They can still return to Saudi Arabia in the future if they are able to obtain valid visas.

Travel Documents

Those requiring Travel Documents are those who intend to go home to the Philippines during the current grace period.

 The requirements for Travel Documents are:

  • Colored photo with white background (preferably passport size)
  • Duly-accomplished passport application form (available both at the field office and from the Embassy website)
  • Copy of old passport or other supporting documents
  • No fees, free of charge

Found Surrendered Passports

Those who received calls from the Embassy can claim their found surrendered passports at the consular field office. The passport will be only be released to the person it was issued to. No representatives allowed. This service is free of charge.

Those who want to extend the validity of their found surrendered passports can also do so at the consular field office. The extended validity will be one year. The fee is SAR 80.00     

 Filipinos can also come to the consular field office and submit a request, via a drop-box, to find his / her surrendered passport in the Embassy’s database. The Filipino should then await a call from the Embassy regarding his request. Request forms are available at the field office. This service is free of charge. (END)

Source:

Philippine Embassy in Riyadh  (Press Release No. PR-088- 2013 15 May 2013)

Is campers action justified? or just an act of stupidity!

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Is campers action justified? or just an act of stupidity!

I am not against the campers; maybe I would do the same if I was in their shoes especially if I feel I’m trapped and nowhere to go. However, we can’t justify an illegal action as “an exemption to the rule”. Moral justification by way of obstructing the law of the host nation cannot be moral; a questionable act thinking it is right under the circumstances is not the answer to all of our anxieties.

thereisnothingworsethanaggressivestupidityI would like to remind my fellow OFWs once again that in Saudi Arabia, the workers may it be their nationals or foreign workers are strictly prohibited from organizing, may it be a group of individuals forming an association, more on calling strikes against employers or the authorities. It means social organizing like camping together for a purpose; especially in public places are very much prohibited.

End of last year, the Saudi’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced banning any expatriate organization or association in the entire Kingdom. The said statement directed all foreign missions in Saudi Arabia to comply and prevent the creation of community organizations and immediately cancel formation of such and their activities without permit from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Though the mentioned directives raised questions than answers among expatriate communities, the MFA didn’t bother to reason out why there was such an order.

The recent developments reported in Arab News today that about 2,000 Filipino workers are still camped outside the Philippine Consulate to put pressure on Philippine officials to speed up the processing of their paperwork is not the solution to their problems. The advisory on Procedures to Obtain Final Exit for Repatriation announced by the Embassy is clearly set out that there are still steps to follow and needed to be done prior repatriation proceedings. Camping outside the Embassy or Consulate premises is an illegal form of assembly according to their law. The worst case scenario is that the Saudi authority might treat this matter even seriously and massive arrest will happen in the next days to come. Di bali kung hindi kayo arestohin dahil may rasyon kayong natatanggap sa ating Embahada or Konsulado, ang problema kung sa kulungan kayo mapunta, maniwala kayo kabayan ang kulungan sa Saudi mas massahol pa sa kulungan sa Pinas.

 I also don’t believe that the campers are running out of food and water, the Embassy and the Consulate are providing you daily of your basic provisions like water and food.  Hindi nga lang kasama ang hinihingi nyong GOLD, mukha yatang sobra na ang pagka “spoiled” ng mga campers natin, pati Gold kasama sa mga hinihingi. Dito nga sa Embahada masaya ang mga campers, may DISCO pa between eating, napping and sleeping time. 

Acting helpless in order to gain pity or sympathy differs from acting  like stupid to seek attention from others or authorities. – BongA 

One who makes himself a worm cannot complain afterwards if people step on him”  – Immanuel Kant 

Advisory on Procedures to Obtain Final Exit for Repatriation

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Advisory on Procedures to Obtain Final Exit for Repatriation

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The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh advises all Filipinos in the Kingdom who have decided to be repatriated to the Philippines of the procedures of concerned Saudi authorities for repatriation.

Pursuant to the announcement issued by the Saudi Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labor on the exemptions and facilitations approved by Royal decree regarding violations of the rules and regulations of residency and labor laws, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh informs all Filipinos of the following procedures for repatriation:

FOR MEN 

Requirements

1. Iqama (or copy of iqama)

-   In the absence of iqama, must be able to provide the iqama number

2. Valid Philippine Passport or Philippine Travel Document (TD)

-   Visit philembassy-riyadh.org for instructions on how to retrieve “surrendered” passports;

-   If you do not have a valid passport, request for the issuance of TD, submit copy of passport (or any other ID showing picture and full name) and 2 pcs. passport-size photos. TD issuance is free of charge.

Procedures:

  1. Ensure clearance from pending liabilities (car registrations, bank loans, etc.)
  2. Apply in person to the Directorate General for Expatriates (Idaratul Wafeedin). See attached map.
  3. Secure your immigration record print-out
  4. Secure an endorsement for issuance of exit visa
  5. Secure exit visa stamp
  6. Secure immediate airline booking. Exit visas expire within 7 days.

The no objection of the previous employer is not a requirement.

FOR WOMEN (SEMI-SKILLED AND SKILLED WORKERS)

Requirements

1. Iqama (or copy of iqama)

-    In the absence of iqama, must be able to provide the iqama number

2. Valid Philippine Passport or Philippine Travel Document (TD)

-  Visit philembassy-riyadh.org for instructions on how to retrieve “surrendered” passports;

-   If you do not have a valid passport, request for issuance of TD, submit copy of passport (or any other ID showing picture and fullname) and 2 pcs. passport-size photos. TD issuance is free of charge.

Procedures:

  1. Apply in person to the Directorate General for Expatriates (Idaratul Wafeedin). See below map.
  2. Secure your immigration record print-out
  3. Secure an endorsement for issuance of exit visa
  4. Secure exit visa stamp
  5. Secure immediate airline booking. Exit visas expire within 7 days.

FOR WOMEN HOUSEHOLD SERVICE WORKERS (HSWs)

(For endorsement to the Saudi Social Welfare Authority-SSWA)

Procedures:

  1. Ensure that you have previously enlisted for assistance with the Embassy.
  2. If you have not yet enlisted, call Mr. Richard Senerez of POLO-Riyadh at 011-481-6448.
  3. If you have enlisted, POLO is calling female HSWs for endorsement to the SWA in batches of 30 per day and calls days in advance.  Please wait for the call.  If you are called and you say you are not ready, you will be drop to the end of the list.

There is no need to come to the Embassy, POLO-Riyadh or Bahay Kalinga to enlist.

All Filipinos are advised to regularly visit the Embassy’s website at www.philembassy-riyadh.org for updates and advisories on the latest developments.END

Source: Philippine Embassy in Riyadh/ No. PR-086- 2013/ 14 May 2013

Location: Directorate General for Expatriates (Idaratul Wafeedin)

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2013 SENATE & PARTY LIST of PHILIPPINES Partial Result

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LIVE RESULTS

Party-list representation in the House of Representatives of the Philippines refers to a system in which 20% of the House of Representatives is elected. While the House is predominately elected by a plurality voting system, known as a first-past-the-post system, party-list representatives are elected by a type of party-list proportional representation. Under-represented sectoral groups, such as labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and other sectors as may be provided by law except the religious sector, may participate in the party-list election. The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines created the party-list system.

The determination of what parties are allowed to participate—who their nominees should be, how the winners should be determined, and the allocation of seats for the winning parties—has been controversial ever since the party-list election was first contested in 1998 and has resulted in several landmark Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and Supreme Court cases.

Party-list representatives are determined in a party-list election, where the voter votes for the party and not for the nominees (closed list), the votes are then arranged in descending order, with the parties that won at least 2% of the national vote are given one seat, with additional seats determined by a formula depending on the number of votes garnered, with no party winning more than three seats. If the number of sectoral representatives does not reach 20% of the total number of representatives, parties that haven’t won seats are given a seat each until the 57 seats are filled up. A voter therefore has two parallel votes in House of Representatives elections — for district representative and for the party-list representative. Neither vote affects the other.

Party-list representation makes use of the tendency for proportional representation systems to favor single-issue parties, and applies that tendency to allow underrepresented sectors to represent themselves in the law-making process. Source: wikipedia

The following list below with corresponding  votes  are known OFW Party List group vying for a seat to represent OFWs in  Philippine Congress  under Party List System in the Philippines 2013 Midterm Election. 

a)      OFW Family Club, Inc. ( 593,472 )

b)     TUCP Trade Union Congress Party (308,764)

c)      ANGKLA: Ang Partido ng mga Pilipinong Marino, Inc. (296,318)

d)     Ang NARS Inc. (202,748)

e)      Bayani Party-list (126,592)

f)       Alyansa ng OFW Party  (36,841)

g)      Migrante Sectoral Party of Overseas Filipinos and their Families (29,971)

Note: Votes cast for the party list  22,579,907

  • 2% of votes cast for the party list 451,598
  • Nation-wide voter turn-out 60.33%
  • As of May 18 10:06 pm

Source:  RAPPLER.COM

OAV 2013: The day I cast my vote

 

May 10, 2013 (Friday)  The Day I cast my Vote

 

 at Philippine Embassy-Riyadh

Govt goes full throttle to correct expat status

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india helping nitaqat-761744The Ministry of Labor has ordered all the labor offices to work in the evening and on Thursdays, if required, during the grace period as it expects a heavy rush of applications for rectification of residence and labor status of expats following Friday’s announcement of concessions.

Ninety percent of the services for expats are done online to avoid long queues at labor offices.

Labor Minister Adel Fakeih met late last night with diplomats from labor-supplying countries in a closed-door meeting in Riyadh to discuss the new regulations governing expatriate labor.

Representatives from Pakistan India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Philippines and other countries participated. One South Asian diplomat described the meeting as “excellent.”

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of illegals have registered with their consulates over the past 30 days in an effort to get airline tickets, consulates and embassy officials told Arab News.

An estimated 6,000 Pakistanis, 60,000 Indians, nearly 10,000 Filipinos, 7,000 Sri Lankans and other nationalities have sought permission to leave the Kingdom.

Mohamed Nazmul Islam, consul general of Bangladesh, told Arab News that those who registered themselves with the consulate earlier to go home are now seeking transfers of iqamas following the announcement.
Expat teachers have found little relief in Friday’s announcement, as the Ministries of Labor and Interior have not covered expats under the sponsorship of relatives in their concessions.

School authorities have expressed concern regarding the transfer of iqamas of female staff. 

First, teachers want a guarantee that they can transfer their iqamas to the sponsorship of their fathers or husbands in case their contracts are terminated. Second, if their male guardians lose jobs, they may be allowed to continue residing in the Kingdom on a “mahram” status since women need male guardians to live in the Kingdom.

Finally, the schools should give workers family status should they decide to transfer their iqamas to the schools’ sponsorship. – ARABNEWS/13/05/2013 

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Meanwhile, the Saudi Council of Engineers (SCE) in Makkah Province, Director Abdullah Shahri, announced that  the SCE has found 1,050 fake degrees among expatriates engineers in Saudi Arabia and they are subject for early deportation.

Engineers whose degrees were found forged came from the Philippines (317), India (178), Pakistan (92), Egypt (89), Syria (53), Jordan (44), Lebanon (44), Sudan (40), Palestine (35), Bangladesh (16), China (12), Yemen (12), France (10), South Korea (7), The UK (7), Sri Lanka (5), Turkey (4), the US (4) and Cyprus (3).  There were also 29 Saudis holding a fake engineering degree.

All local and expatriates professional engineers working in the Kingdom must be registered with the Saudi Chamber of Commerce. Without this membership an expatriate engineer can’t renew his residency permit (iqama). 

Article 3 of the Statutes of Saudi Council of Engineers states :  The membership of the Council of Engineers consists of:

1. Primary membership: It comprises all Saudi graduates in engineering disciplines or equivalent, practicing this profession.

2. Associate membership includes:

a. All non-Saudi engineers holding a university degree or equivalent in any engineering discipline, and working in the engineering field in the Kingdom.

b. Technicians, students, and those interested in engineering science and apply for membership.

c. Professional engineering offices and companies authorized to practice engineering profession in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

3. Honorary membership: It is awarded by the Council’s Board of Directors to those who make distinguished contribution to serve the Council. Honorary members are exempted from subscription fee.

Saudi Council of Engineers is a scientific professional body independently handling its financial obligations, and operating under the supervision of Ministry of Commerce. -end-

related link: Country’s pride is at stake