PhilEmb-Ruh Web Site

PhilEmb-Ruh Web Site

Last week I happen to visit the Philippine Embassy-Riyadh web site upon advised by Philippine embassy staff that I could download the lists of OAV absentee voters in the site. Luckily I was, and copy of it was emailed to some of my friends in Al Khobar.

 The site is having a good web design, kudos to the designer. Though some of its features are not yet accessible. I tried to open the Philippine-Saudi Relations tab but no entry found. Even the message of the new Ambassador is not available, prompted me to call the web designer and inquire if it has something to do with my server. He replied that it would take time to load XML text material. I noted it, but up to this entry I still can’t access some of its features.

The Web Site

The Web Site (as of April 30, 2007)



The press release from our Philippine Embassy about their OAV Campaign “Bumoto Ka Na Ba?” is featured upon access to the site. However, we cannot find any posters in Batha and other places that the campaign posters could be useful. Maybe because I am located in the mountain or desert area of Riyadh “kaya wala akong makita na OAV campaign material” from Embassy. If ever I’m wrong, I’ll be reprimanded for this entry. Be it!  

Try to browse Bangladesh Embassy web site, the web design is not quite good looking but I can access it at once without waiting for any XML text to download. It is also very informative site to Bangladeshi expats.   


His Excellency Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor
His Excellency Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor

Today March 2009, please click picture of H.E. Excellency Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor.


Go out and Vote Campaign

Posted 27 April 2007

It was quite exhausting but happy indeed that once again we were able to do the task in line with our “go out and vote campaign”.

Yesterday night I and Ka Francis Oca with ka Alex Bello were busy preparing  the materials necessary for what we have accomplished today.

We went to Batha this morning to post our Go Out and Vote posters in selected strategic points of the area where our co-pinoys frequently hang out.

Sad to say that some of our kababayan only learned that OAV had already started after reading the posters.

My fellow concerned OFWs/Overseas Filipinos who believe that the spirit of democracy is measured  through electoral process, please  help us in our campaign.

To Francis Robert Oca, son of our colleague Francis, thanks a lot for designing as well as providing several copies of the campaign material.

To each and everyone, lets do our share.

OAV update in Riyadh:  Ka Ambo’s  “It’s Just Another Day“.

The second week of the ongoing Overseas Absentee Voting ended this evening. While there was a slight increase in the number of voters who cast their votes this week compared to last at the embassy here in Riyadh, still it is much lower than we expected. But the sight of three company buses transporting voters to the embassy was a good sign, and we hope the remaining two weeks will really see us more company buses bringing in more voters.

It's Just Another Day Ahead"

It’s Just Another Day Ahead”

Ask anybody, especially government officials, what they think is the reason why the turn out of voters have been very low, the most common answers you will get are that: many overseas Filipinos think that since this election is not a presidential election it is not so important; many think that it is useless to cast their votes because these will not be counted anyway; and many say ‘nakakatamad naman kasing pumunta sa embassy’.

At one point I did believe that may be those are the valid reasons. But this afternoon, I realized that those earlier statements may not be the reasons at all..

In relation to our Go Out and Vote campaign here in Riyadh, we designed a campaign ad that centered on why we should cast our votes. The message was conveyed by the following lines that were printed on the poster/flyer:

Ipaabot ang nagkakaisang tinig
Gamitin ang karapatang marinig
Ang Boto mo, pahalagahan mo.

We had the poster designed by a young OFW for free, but the printing of the four color poster cost us SR 2.50 each for the A4 size, and SR 50 for the A3 size. Thursday night we have the number of posters we needed ready.

This morning we started placing those posters in areas around Riyadh where many Filipinos usually hang out especially during weekends. In one supermarket the Filipino cashier commented: “Nag umpisa na pala ang botohan?” In one restaurant one employee asked, “Taga Comelec po kayo?”; while a jolly barker in the fastfood center said, “huwag kayong mag-alala kabayan, akong bahala dyan”, referring to the poster that we stuck on a suggestion box.

When I heard the supermarket cashier said, “nag-umpisa na pala ang botohan,” I asked myself how many Filipinos like him are not aware that the overseas absentee voting period has already started two weeks ago; maybe a hundred, or maybe a couple of thousands? Could this not be the main reason why there is a low turn out of voters?

What really made me smile was the question from the waiter at the Thai restaurant. When asked, “taga Comelec po kayo?” we simply said we are not from Comelec, but are from various OFW organizations. But he’s got a point. Bakit nga ba kami ang nagdidikit ng mga OAV posters na yon at hindi ang mga taga Political section ng embahada?

Commissioner Tuason proudly announced during the OAV Forum at Intramuros last March that the OAV cost per voter this year compared to that of 2004 is very very much lower. That of course was great for the budget department. But given the experience of 2004, the Comelec could have spent some amount on information materials like posters and flyers. If posters were sent to the Posts a month before the start of the voting period, and the Posts are able to distribute these to the major companies and community organizations, as well as display some in areas where Filipinos usually hang out – like what we did today, chances are the turn out could be better than what we witness now.

But if Comelec cannot even send postal voting materials and voters ID on time, can we expect them to be able to think of those little, yet very important, things?

It bleeds my heart when I think of how little the government cares about us who are sacrificing to be away from home just to keep the Philippines survive. Perhaps when the bleeding stops, time will have been ripe.

But for now, today is just another day. ###

An Open Letter of Appeal to Absentee Voters


An Open Letter of Appeal to Absentee Voters

We all know that during elections, like the one we are having this year, is the best and only time that we can make our voice as citizens be heard. It was also in cognizance of this right that for years we fought it out with Congress that we, Overseas Filipinos, be given that right. In 2003 that right was given to us with the passage of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003. We first exercised our rights under that law during the national elections in 2004.

This year, starting from April 14 to May 14, we are again given the right to let our voices be heard. We are given the right to say, “Tama na, sobra na” to those whom we believe have not been true to their sworn responsibilities as our representatives; and to those whom we perceive are not supportive to the cause of Overseas Filipinos. And we are also given the right to say, “Ikaw nga, o kayo nga, ang tunay naming kapuso at kapamilya!”

But ten days through the one month voting period given to us, reports have it on how low the voters turn out has been. There are those who say, even among our embassy officials, that the numbers will improve on the last few days of the voting period.

We in the OFW Congress here in Riyadh, KSA believe that each of us has an obligation to remind our friends, our co-workers, our fellow Overseas Filipinos, even our relatives back home not to put their chance to be heard to waste by failing to cast their vote. Sabi nga sa TV advertisement: “Sa isang boto ng bawat isa sa atin magsisimula ang pagbabago.” Let’s all Go Out and Vote!

Thank you so much for your time and cooperation in making this year’s Overseas Absentee Voting a successful one. God Bless us and our country.

From: Overseas Filipino Workers Congress-Riyadh


Hangyo lang! Mr. Secretary

News item reported in the Daily Tribune dated today 04/24/07 that DOJ Chief Raul Gonzalez buys vote of Barangay heads of Iloilo, his bailiwick. The report said, he even admitted it in a radio station interview that he offered P10,000 to Barangay Captains in exchange for Team Unity sweep in the area.


HUH! I don’t really like this guy from the beginning he assumed the office as Secretary of Justice. I knew too that he was given the portfolio “bayad sa utang na loob” on his participation in the impeachment against former Pres. Erap and everybody knew that! “Bulag na ang pinoy pag hindi ito nakikita”


Every time I saw him on TV, I always ignore him and changed channel; I have to admit nakakainis tingnan “lalo na pag pipikit pikit ang mata”. I also observed that he always pre-judged or announced in media a possible outcome of a certain case, which is very wrong for a Secretary of Justice to do so. I also noticed of many books and papers in his table, “paano maka pag concentrate ang isang Kalihim ng Hustisya sa ganitong environment”. When I was working in a law office, I always made sure that my lawyer boss surroundings are clean and pleasing to his clients. I even visited former Justice Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III at DOJ where everything was in order in his office.


He even says that nothing is wrong with his offer since he is using his own money, Oh! My Gosh! Mr. Secretary, “konting delicadeza naman, HANGYO LANG”.


Vote buying is the number one problem in our country during election. Galit ako sa mga bumibili at nagpapabili ng boto!         


Malapit na akong umuwi, baka e-hold mo ako sa airport ha! Just pouring out some emotions that clogged deep within me.


Sorry!  Philippines is a free country I have the right to say what I want to say that what I feel is right. Anyway, don’t get offended, I am an ordinary OFW I can’t harm you.

PhilEmb reaches out to 68 companies

Press Release No.APV-21/2007

22 April 2007


Philippine Embassy reaches out to 68 companies

to increase voter turnout


22 April 2007 – The Philippine Embassy today reported that as part of its efforts to increase voter turnout, it has written to 68 companies in the Riyadh area and Eastern Province to request these establishments to allow their registered Filipino workers to cast their votes in the Embassy and the International Philippine School in Al-Khobar.


Ambassador Antonio P. Villamor said that the Embassy began communicating with companies which employ substantial number of Filipinos, even before the start of the overseas absentee voting on April 14. “Two weeks prior to the start of the voting, we have written to medical institutions in Riyadh to inform them of the conduct of the elections for senators and party-list representatives. We asked these institutions to allow their Filipino employees to vote and to provide them adequate transportation,” said Ambassador Villamor. He added that the Embassy continues to receive and respond to requests from Filipino community leaders and individuals to send official letters to their employers regarding the elections.


During the first week of voting, 1,403 voters cast their ballots in the Embassy while 652 voted in Al-Khobar and 808 in Jeddah. Ambassador Villamor expressed optimism that the turn-out rate will increase in the remaining three weeks of voting once the workers of the 68 companies start trooping to the voting centers.


Ambassador Villamor said “there is a saying that decisions are made by those who show up, so I urge every registered Filipino voter to come out and vote and let your voices be heard.”

OFW Sarah Jane Dematera

demateraI cast my vote last Friday at our Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and after casting my vote I roamed around to observed the OAV electoral process as part of our campaign “Ang Boto mo ay  Mahalaga, Bantayan Mo”.

When I went to the basement area I caught my attention of a donation box on the way going to the Precincts.

Brief info about the case re: Sarah Jane Dematera.

Sarah Jane Dematera

Sarah Jane Dematera

Sarah Jane Dematera was 19 years old when she arrived in Saudi Arabia in November 1992 from the Philippines to work as a domestic helper. Four days later she was arrested for the murder of her female employer. She was sentenced to death by a court judgment issued on 14 November 1993.

After 15 years in jail on the basis of the forgiveness executed by the husband of the victim, Sarah now at 34 years of age with your kind hearted help will be out in jail very soon.

Contact our Department of Foreign Affairs or the Consulate/Embassy in your area for your donation.

1st Friday of OAV in Riyadh

The 11th hour Filipino syndrome is one of the negative traits we have Filipinos and I personally acknowledged it. Probably, this is the main reason that progress within us and the whole Filipino nation is very slow due to the mentioned sickness.

My Right Choice

My Right Choice

Yesterday I was there at our Philippine Embassy and casted my vote. Sadly, we noticed that very few absentee voters were there to exercise their right of suffrage. I remember in 2004, the absentee voters flock at our Embassy in the last day of voting period. I will not be surprised it would be the same in this years’ election. Though the possibility of low voters turn out in Riyadh did not crossed my mind, “I still believed that Filipinos loved the spirit of our democracy and that is the right to vote”.

On the other hand, we are glad that our observations in the first day of voting period were given attention by the OAV in charge of our Philippine Embassy.

1)      The back to back lists of Party List Group postings were already in the front page

Party List Group Postings (Front Page)

Party List Group Postings (Front Page)

2)      UHU glue are available in all precincts



3)      The Black Python Martial Arts members were there assigned as Marshals. The First Friday of the voting period was peaceful and orderly. 

4)	Black Python Marshals w/ Alex V. Bello & Francis Oca (cencter) At Center Grandmaster & Founder Boy Macion

4) Black Python Marshals w/ Alex V. Bello & Francis Oca (cencter) At Center Grandmaster & Founder Boy Macion

We visited the office of the OAV Committee Chairman in Riyadh Vice Consul Abiog on some important inquiries and officialy requested him to provide us the figures of the voters turn out in weekly basis.

5)	SBEI at Precict # 1 with Attache Babes Hidalgo(center)

5) SBEI at Precict # 1 with Attache Babes Hidalgo(center)

Hoping to give you more infos in the next succeeding Fridays.

Back in the Mood

I received 3 important calls/message since yesterday.


One from His Excellency Ambassador Antonio Villamor assuring us that the Embassy will do the necessary for the immediate repatriation of an OFW who just passed away.


The other one was a call from a long time friend in Mandaue City, Cebu asking support for the candidacy of his re-electionist sister, the incumbent Congresswoman of CEBU 6th District (Mandaue/Lapu Lapu) who is also the House Committee Vice-Chair of Overseas Workers Affairs . “Lapu Lapu City is my adopted home given that I established my residency in the area”. The “Neis-Soon-Ruiz” are our family friend. 


The  last one today is from a friend, a respected diplomat and currently assigned at Philippine Embassy in Netherlands.


I’m back in good mood… Happy Weekend.

Memorandum from Royal Embassy-Manila


Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia-Manila




To :  All Saudi Embassy-Accredited Recruitment Agencies

From  : Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia (Consular Section)

Date  : 03 April 2007


Kindly be informed that effective Monday, 16 April 2007 all visa applicants except household workers (domestic helper, family driver, houseboy, babysitter, family dressmaker, family cook, private nurse) are required to submit their old passports, if any. Visa applicants without old passports are required to submit from Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) certificates that the passports issued to them are their first.


For strict compliance.



Head of the Consular Section

KSA Restricts Re-Entry of Ex-OFWs



In the April 16 article “Saudi Arabia Restricts Re-Entry of OFWs”, the relevant Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia memorandum to accredited  recruitment agencies says that all Visa applicants except household workers are required to submit their old passports, if any.


Visa applicants without old passports are required to submit from the Department of Foreign affairs certificates that the passports issued for them are first.


There is no mention in the memorandum  of an NOC (No Objection Certificate) being required for returning OFWs in their old passports. Arab News regrets the error.



RIYADH, 16 April 2007 – Starting today, ex-Saudi OFWs arriving in the Kingdom with new companies and contracts have to provide their old passports stamped with a “No Objection Certificate” (NOC) from their previous employers.


The Saudi Arabian Embassy in the Philippines outlined the new directives in a memo that was circulated on April 4, which comes into effect today. The new directive is in response to an increase in numbers of complaints by many Saudi firms, whose Filipino workers have ran away.


Osama Basim, not his real name, told Arab News that his company recruited young inexperienced graduates from the Philippines for various real estate projects. After a few months they started disappearing one-by-one. Later he learned that they had gone to work elsewhere for better pay. Basim believes the new directive will stop this practice from continuing.


The new memo is said to affect thousands of OFWs intending to return to the Kingdom and hundreds of recruitment agencies in the Philippines.


The circular stated, “Effective April 16, all visa applicants, except domestic helpers, are required to submit old passports together with their visa applications. Those without old passports must submit a Department of Foreign Affairs certificate that their passports are their first.”


Another restriction mentioned in the memo is that even if the OFW has an NOC in his passport, the job category that he is applying for in his new job should be the same as the category of his previous job.


These two rules will reduce the number of OFWs that qualify for work in the Kingdom in both the professional and skilled categories, since very few employers readily agree to issue NOCs to departing OFWs.


Recruitment agencies with pending job orders will now have to choose workers with NOCs in their passports (old or new) and match those workers with the visa categories supplied by employers.


Saudi Arabia is the largest market for OFWs with 200,000 Filipinos entering the Kingdom on either first time and renewed contracts. There are close to one million Filipinos living in the Kingdom.


Compounding the problems facing recruitment agencies is the refusal of the Saudi Embassy in Manila to accredit newly licensed agencies for visa attestations, applications for visa stamping and the release of stamped visas.


Hundreds of newly licensed agencies by the POEA are faced with this problem and have to spend extra funds for accredited agencies with the Saudi Embassy to release visas.


Saudi Arabia Restricts Re-Entry of Ex-OFWs
Abdul Hannan Faisal Tago, Arab News