A statement by the ministry of interior


To: Fellow Filipinos in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

 The Statement below from the Ministry of Interior in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that was posted in their website ( http://bit.ly/gbqCi8 ) is clearly an information and a reminder to the public especially to Saudi Nationals that laws in the Kingdom strictly prohibit all forms of demonstrations, marches and the like.

Therefore, the mentioned statement doesn’t constitute as an alarm to panic that there will be untoward incidents that will happen in the future.

Please be informed that the Saudi authorities are now very strict in implementing all necessary measures to assure that there will be no such illegal activities that will takes place in the coming days to come.

Therefore, fellow Filipinos should be very cautious and refrain from joining any crowd that the Saudi authorities might sense as a gathering intended for unlawful purposes.   

Further, fellow OFWs should refrain from sending, forwarding and disseminating information which likely cause fear and alarm to the Filipino community, knowing or having reason to believe that the statement, rumor or report can cause panic among Filipinos and other nationalities in the Kingdom.

Please be advised that the OFW Congress and other Filipino Community leaders in the Kingdom are closely in contact with our Philippine Embassy.

From: OFW Congress-Riyadh Executive Council  

     

WE Pray..


Our Prayer

There are rumors circulating around the Filipino community about the protest in the coming days. There will be or not, WE, Filipinos should be aware of our status in the Kingdom. As a visitor in this oil rich country, we must be careful of what we are doing in our daily lives, like roaming around the city, staying late at night in the streets and having fun in groups around malls and restaurants and other places where the local authorities might sense it as a gathering with purpose.

What we need to do is to pray that what is going on now in Libya will never be happen in this country. We loved this country like our home, a country that provides us job and golden opportunities. Though some of us are not lucky enough, but majority of us Filipinos in Saudi Arabia have managed to become successful in their lives  dahil sa “Katas ng Saudi”.  Many Filipinos consider that working in Saudi Arabia is a privileged.

Although most Saudis I mingled concur that “it is highly unlikely to happen in this country” where the government is very supportive to its people.  Like any other countries in the world, it is natural for the people to air their grievances and needed some reforms.  But it should be done in a proper forum.

To fellow Filipinos, Muslims and Christians, let us join our hands in prayer  that  if such action will takes place, we pray   that cooler heads will prevail  and the reprehensible action of the few will not result in equally reprehensible retaliatory acts of violence, in GOD Almighty, WE PRAY. Amen!

OFWC newly elected Execon affirms oath of office


RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA: The OFW Congress-Riyadh on its 12th years of existence as an advocacy group comprised of various Filipino Community organizations held its Induction Rites at Philippine Embassy in Riyadh last 24 of February 2011.

There was a sense of renewed vigor among the newly elected and appointed officers in their continuing quest advocating national policy and program to address pressing issues and concerns of OFWs in general.

OFW Congress-Riyadh was primarily formed to help ensure that the country’s new heroes dubbed by the Philippine government  will be well protected on their rights while working in a foreign land. The group objectives in particular is to  spearhead the drafting, lobbying, passage of motions, measures, resolutions and position papers on vital issues affecting the rights, welfare and economic well being of the OFW’s.

L-R: Philippine Embassy Consul General Ezz Tago, Alex Veloso Bello (partly hidden), Faisal Sarque, Ronie Huertas, Abdul Gafhar Dimalotang, Resty Sibug (back, partly hidden), Allan Macabangkit, Cesar Gervacio (back, partly hidden), Oscar Domingo, Dante Pangcoga, Boggs Bolor (back , partly hidden), Bioux Manilum, Bong Amora (back, hidden), Nilda Ballesteros, Faizal Mercurio (back, partly hidden), Alona Dela Cruz, Robert Ramos (back), Habib Batua.

The 2011-2013 OFWC 21 Executive Council members  affirmed their commitment to their office as they took their oath administered by Philippine Embassy Charge D’ Affaires, Minister Counselor and Consul General Ezzedin H. Tago. 

Re-elected OFWC President Alex Veloso Bello expressed his heartfelt and humble gratitude to every participating member organization on their pledged to their continued belief on the implementation of the objectives and programs of the group.  He prods the Executive Council member’s enthusiasm in supporting his leadership as he placed and expounded to the members during his brief address, “without your assistance, cooperation and group effort everything would be in vain.”

For the 2011-2013  EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBERS: President: Alex Veloso Bello, Executive Vice-President: Engr. Faisal Sarque of Filipino Retirees OFW Movement: VP – Strategic Planning & Good Governance, Abdul Ghafar Dimalotang (Philippine Muslim Overseas Workers Movement): VP – Economic Affairs, Engr. Allan Macabangkit (Shakba International Association): VP – Welfare, Oscar Domingo (Order of the Knights of Rizal): VP – Political Affairs, Dante Pangcoga (Integrated Mindanao Economic Forum): Secretary General, Manuel Amora (Kalipunang Kaakabay ng Mangagawang Pilipino sa Saudi Arabia): Comptroller General, Engr. Bioux Manilum (BISAYA). 

The Director General’s are the following:  Legal Affairs, Engr. Robert Ramos (Samahan ng Mangagawang Pilipino-SAMAFIL): Health, Dr. Lito Astillero (order of the Knights of Rizal): Education, Ronnie Huertas: Elite International School: Emergency Assistance, Mario Ben (KGS-Migrante), Community Relations, Engr. Resty Sibug (Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers-PSME): External Relations, Cesar Gervacio (Royal Guardians International): Women, Ma. Nilda Ballesteros and Alona Dela Cruz (Philippine Nurses Association): Islamic Affairs, Habib Batua (Federation of Maranao Associations in Saudi): Government Relations, Engr. Boggs Bolor (Guardians-GMGI): Sports, Faizal Mercurio (Black Python Martial Arts Inc.): Entertainment & Social Affairs, Celso M. Ditalo (CSM.Com Cooperative): Culture and Arts, Ruperto Civil (Artist League for Culture & Arts) and Youth, Jim Rosacena (Safari).  

L-R cont... Habib Batua, Dr. Lito Astillero (back, partly hidden) and Mario Ben. (Not in photo or hidden, Rupert Civil, Celso Ditalo & Jim Rosacena)

Consul General Ezzedin Tago, in his short remarks expressed his gratitude to OFWC in their continued commitment to serve the OFWs and very optimistic that OFWC and the Embassy can work together as partner in pursuing their plans and programs for the betterment of OFWs in general at site and at home.

Philippine Embassy Charge D’ Affaires, Minister Counselor and Consul General Ezzedin H. Tago administered the OFWC oath of office.

OFWC during the induction ceremony presented to Consul General Ezzedin Tago the group resolution OFWC011-001 Series of 2011 dated February 24, 2011 addressed to His Excellency Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, III, President of the Republic of the Philippines and Vice President and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns Jejomar C. Binay.

The nine-point recommendations for President Benigno Aquino’s considerations includes the following; a) appointment of two personalities coming from the OFW rank in Saudi Arabia to sit in the POEA and OWWA Board respectively, 2) creation of a pension scheme for OFWs, 3) the government to acquire a more sophisticated device or equipment to detect drug couriers from using our country’s airports as gateway for drug traffickers, 4) to subsidize the operation of  an “OFW Community Schools” in Saudi Arabia 5) to re-examine the mandate and the role of Philippine agencies whose authority includes: acceptance and approval of Job Orders from countries where there are rampant contract substitution, maltreatment and abuse, 6) to support the pending bills in Congress for the creation of a medical facility or OFW Hospital named “Bagong Bayani Medical Center”, 7 ) to mitigate the negative impact of the continuing dollar decline on OFW remittances, 8 ) to facilitate the creation of a special body whose task is to craft up policies and comprehensive approach as well as concrete mechanisms for OFW Reintegration Program, and 9) for the President to act within his power to facilitate the release of OFWs still locked up in their cells despite of having been completed the jail terms imposed by the Saudi authorities. – End – (by MAA) 

Click here to read the full text of the OFWC 9 Point Recommendation>>>>>>>

Let’s unite for the sake of those OFWs in Libya


Rescue Effort

Expats in Libya (Evacuees)

What I’ve heard is that there will be an onward flights arranged by our Phil. government for those OFWs crossing the Libyan border to Egypt or Tunisia, as well as those arriving by boat in Malta or Crete. I am not really sure that this arrangement are being implemented at this very moment but for sure our government will do the best what they can do for the safety of those OFWs affected by the worsening situation in Libya. Let’s us hope and pray that those government agencies given the task on this purpose will exert more effort para naman maibsan ang worries ng ating mga kababayan doon at sa kanilang mga mahal sa buhay na naghihintay sa Pilipinas. Though, practically, we should admit that during wars and this kind of events, we cannot do the rescue effort in just a blink of an eye, our prayers are needed than blaming each other’s shortcomings.

WE, Filipinos especially those people in the world of dirty politics-pinoy style, “matagal pa po ang eleksyon”, you should stop throwing each others mud and instead pray hard at kumilos kung may magagawa para sa kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan sa Libya.

At sa mga media or pahayagan na ang isinusulat ay puro kapalpakan ng gobyerno,  akala nyo magaling kayong Pilipino, tingnan nyo muna ang inyong sarili kung nakapasa ba kayo sa tinatawag na journalism code of ethics and standardsWala ba kayong nakikitang magandang nagawa ang gobyerno?  Sa mga oposisyon, di ko kayo masisisi dahil kung hindi kayo mag papapel na oposisyon, or leftist, sigurado wala na kayo sa ere. At least man lang sana this time, let’s unite for the sake of those OFWs that needs our help.

VP Binay visit to KSA

Vice President Binay’s  visit to the Kingdom was postponed due to the request of the host government at hindi po kapalpakan ng ating Embahada at Department of Foreign Affairs, gaya ng sinasabi ng mga kritiko ng gobyerno.

Philippine VP & Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns Jojo Binay with Esteban Conejos, Office of Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs-DFA

As the 2nd highest official of the land, the Kingdom wants that VP Binay’s visit will be in an official capacity with highest respect of acceptance from  His Highness King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud. VP Binay wants his entourage to sidetrip Saudi Arabia via Kuwait.  Vice President Jojo Binay was invited by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of  Kuwait to witness its founding day celebration.

Here in Saudi Arabia, even an Ambassador who wants to visit a government facility needs an approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an standard operating procedure where the head of mission is a special and very important person. He will be fully guarded and honored.  Ang Bise Presidente pa kaya ng bansang Pilipinas?  The number two Philippine highest official in the land who represents  “1.5 million OFWs in the Kingdom.”  Ganyan ka-importante ng  Hari ng Saudi Arabia ang isang Head of State.

In an Official Visit to a State Capital, like Riyadh,  the Vice-President should be received by the Governor, a Minister, and at least a high ranking police officer. The Vice-President, will be given a special place to stay and a transport to the extent if necessary irrespective of the nature of the visit. If the Vice-President is making a transit halt either at the Kingdom’s Capital or any other place in the Kingdom, one executive and one police officer may be present to render such assistance as may be necessary. If the Vice President wants to visit a person or friend in private, a government executive and one police officer should be present on arrival and departure. In all of these secenarios, the Vice President or a head of state is fully guarded by crack police or military units.

As we all knew that the King of Saudi Arabia had just arrived from a medical trip, surely, the King is too busy during these days and of course  he wants to make sure that he will receive the second highest official of the Republic of the Philippines by himself.

Kaya mga borg, hindi po kapalpakan ng Embahada at ng DFA sa atin ang hindi pagtuloy ni Vice President Binay sa Riyadh, kundi dahil sa request ng host government. Kaya mga oposisiyon sa Kongreso tumahimik na kayo at magkapit-bisig, magtulongan para sa katahimikan at kaunlaran ng bansa. Pero at least nakikita namin kung sino talaga kayo!!!

Siyanga pala bago kayo magdakdak at magkunwaring pro-OFWs sa inyong mga adhikain bilang mambabatas, tumulong muna kayo at magpakitang gilas at personal mismo na tutulong –  para naman at least kaming mga OFWs bibilib po sa inyo. Pero kung sa kongreso lang kayo magdakdak at dakdak dito dakdak doon ang mga galamay ninyo para lang mabandera ang pangalan sa diyaryo at media – “HINDI PO GAGO ANG ISANG ORDINARYONG OFW.”

Edward Everet Hale says “Look up and not down. Look forward and not back. Look out and not in, and lend a hand.” (End) BongA

Filipino Community leaders in KSA seeking audience with Philippine Vice President Jojo Binay


RIYADH – The official website of  Vice President and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns Jejomar C. Binay announced that VP Binay will leave Friday to look into the situation of OFWs in the Middle East as per instruction from President Benigno Aquino III.

The Vice President is expected to arrive Riyadh on the 28th of February 2011. He will be meeting with government high ranking officials in Saudi Arabia from Kuwait and also expected to visit United Arab Emirates to hold labor bilateral discussions aiming to improve the conditions of Filipino workers in these countries.

He will also be closely monitoring the security situation of OFWs in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen in light of protest actions taking place in those countries. According to the Vice President’s website there are around 31,000 Filipinos in Bahrain, 26,000 in Libya and 1,400 are in Yemen as of June 2010.

“We are working very closely with DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] and our embassies to ensure that all preparation and contingency measures are smoothly implemented,” Binay said.

Binay will visit OFWs in welfare centers and job sites to listen their concerns.

Filipino Community leaders from  KASAPI Congress in Jeddah is expected to come to Riyadh and together with the OFW Congress-Riyadh will seek an audience with the Vice President to discuss  number of issues pertaining to those OFWs incarcerated in various jails in the Kingdom and in the death row in particular. And so with the refusal of the Saudi government to implement the new requirement on contract demanded by the Philippines. One of the conditions allows it to obtain private information on the family and social situation of Saudi citizens. The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs sought its revision.

Also, the OFW Congress in Riyadh during their induction rites to be held 24 February 2011 at Philippine Embassy will submit a resolution addressed to H.E. President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and Vice President and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns Jejomar C. Binay.

The group demands include the appointment of two (2) personalities or OFWs coming from the rank of OFWs in Middle East particularly in Saudi Arabia to the two key government agencies that oversees the plight of the Filipino Migrant Workers, the POEA and OWWA governing boards respectively.  And the President to support pending bills in Congress for the creation of a medical facility or OFW Hospital named “Bagong Bayani Medical Center”, recognizing the economic contribution of OFWs in the country dubbed as the new heroes of the Republic.

As courtesy rules, the resolution will be formally presented to Philippine Embassy Charge D’ Affaires, Hon. Minister Counselor, Consul General  Ezzedin Tago who at the same time will grace the occasion.

While in Kuwait, the Vice President will also be representing President Aquino during the celebration of Kuwait’s 50th National Day,  20th Liberation anniversary and five years of the rule of the Emir of Kuwait, Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah. – (BongA)

Maximizing the development impact of remittances


SINGLE –YEAR EXPERT MEETING ON

 MAXIMIZING THE DEVELOPMENT IMPACT OF  REMITTANCES

 Geneva, 14‐15 February 2011

 MOBILIZING THE USE OF REMITTANCES TOWARDS POVERTY  REDUCTION AND ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL  DEVELOPMENT

  THROUGH GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES:

  THE PHILIPPINE EXPERIENCE

By

Saul DE VRIES

Deputy Director

National Reintegration Center for Overseas Filipino Workers

Department of Labour and Employment

Introduction

 Compared to its ASEAN neighbors, the Philippines has more extensive experience of sending manpower abroad. Numerous policies and programs, crafted by the government, reflect this reality. Realizing the potentials of migration for work, the Philippine government pursued its overseas employment program with the general objective of achieving economic and social benefits for Filipino migrants, their families, communities and the country as a whole.

Being one of the major labor-sending countries in the world, the Philippines ranks high in the list of top receivers of remittances from overseas. From a macro angle, foreign remittances have significantly contributed in maintaining the country’s foreign exchange reserves afloat and have become a constant source of income, which even supersedes direct foreign investments and overseas development assistance funds received by the Philippines.

Please click the UNCTAD Logo for the full text

PhilEmb Advisory re: Use of the Embassy Grounds


RIYADH:  The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia through Advisory No. 2011/12 dated 14 February 2011 wishes to inform the Filipino Community in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on the new regulations, procedures and conditions on the use of the embassy grounds and/or the use of  its facilities.  

Philippine Embassy in Riyadh

The Philippine Embassy issued the advisory in compliance to the host country’s directives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed to all diplomatic missions in the Kingdom.

Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in their “note verbale” has informed the Philippine Embassy that the host government will allow activities to be held in the Embassy grounds for the following list of community events; a) Art exhibitions b) Seminars c) Cultural lectures d) Poetry readings e) Concerts f) Exhibitions g) Bazaars. All other activities not mentioned in the list may not be given a corresponding permit.

Events outside the diplomatic mission must be held in a particular place like hotels and cultural center and should not exceed past midnight.

Filipino Community organization who wishes or want to use the Philippine Embassy grounds must submit a letter request (2) months prior to the actual date of the event.  

Although the “Philippine Embassy is certain that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recognizes the Embassy’s immunity to hold activities within its premises, the Embassy has the obligation to respect the host country’s  laws, culture and traditions under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relation”, the advisory says.

The Philippine mission in Saudi Arabia is requesting Filipino Community organizations to cooperate and comply with the host country’s directive. – BongA

To read the full text of the Advisory, please  click here >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> using the acrobat reader.

To our flag carrier, our sad farewell…


The Philippine Airlines country manager in Riyadh, Mr. Reynaldo Garcia announced today that the country’s flag carrier will be suspending its flight operation between Manila and Riyadh effective 01 April 2011 due to commercial issues.

Philippine Airlines Advisory – 007  dated today 8th February 2011 said that the  PAL management convey with extreme regret about the decision.  Dispositive portion of the mentioned advisory says, “nonetheless, rest assured that this did not come without due consideration of the painful effect it will have on our customers, generous business partners and wonderful friends in the industry”.

To our flag carrier, our sad farewell…

PAL first flew to Riyadh on March 1, 1987 and it was recalled that PAL has reduced its presence in ceasing flight to Dubai and Jeddah in 1998, then Dammam in 2001 and stopped  its flight operation to Riyadh on March 2006.  

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Congress-Riyadh, the OFW Congress-Eastern Region, Kasapi Congress-Western Region and other community groups were among the prime movers requesting the then GMA administration to help resume its flight back to the Kingdom.

In response to the clamor of more than two million Filipino Overseas Worker (OFW)communities in the Middle East, the flag carrier resumes back its service to Riyadh on  March 28 of last year, after four years of absence, but unfortunately for a mere year of  operation it dropped its flight  to Riyadh – again for commercial reason.

To our flag carrier, our sad farewell