PhilEmb Press Release # APV-11-2009

Dear Mr. Abdullah,

Thank you for your comments in our entry below “PhilEmb-Ruh Invitation” dated February 28, 2009 @ 10:51 AM. 

Allow me to reply your inquiry by posting this Philippine Embassy Press Release No. APV-11-2009 dated February 28, 2009. The said Press Release circulated to all Filipino Community leaders/organization in Riyadh was received via email today (Feb. 28, 2009) at  3:15 PM.



Puno for president movement launched

Puno for president movement launched

by LEI CHAVEZ, | 02/25/2009 10:28 PM

l15032850620_95001Supporters of Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno launched on Wednesday a movement to encourage him to run for office.

Organizers of the Movement for Electoral Non-trapo (MEN) said their goal is to prevent “trapos from perpetuating” themselves in Philippine politics, and urged Puno to run for president in 2010.

“We stand for a certain principle, and that is–we don’t want trapos to rule our nation,” former Justice Undersecretary Jose Calida said.

Unlike many movements that prefer to be non-partisan, MEN has rallied behind a potential candidate for the 2010 elections. It is also the only movement to support a “candidate” without his consent.

“We have not consulted him on this because we believe that we can launch this with or without anybody’s blessing. There is no need for us to ask his permission. We are a free country, anybody can speak up. So for us, we believe that he [Puno] is the best candidate, so why settle for second best?” Calida said.

Not a ‘trapo’    read more>>>>>>    or   related link>>>>> 

Agusan del Norte Chosen Official Website Finalist

Agusan del Norte Chosen Official Website Finalist    

After successfully hurdling the elimination, quarterfinal and semi-final rounds   was announced as one of the finalists in the 11th Philippine Web Awards, the award giving body that recognizes the best Filipino created web sites annually. pwaThe announcement was officially made last January  12, 2009 and our website automatically qualifies to the final round which started last January 15, 2009.

To recall, the province’s website was launched almost a year and with the full support of all stakeholders we were able to compete on this prestigious award for this year’s edition. This is just the first time the province joined search for the best website. 

read more>>>>>>> 

King Abdullah Cracks the Glass Ceiling

King Abdullah Cracks the Glass Ceiling
Written by Amina Rasul – Feb 21, 2009 at 08:07 PM


Finally! A woman has been appointed to a ministerial position in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On February 14, the appointment Norah al-Fayez as deputy education minister for female education affairs was announced. This is the most-senior position granted to woman in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“King Abdullah has given us a Valentine’s day present!” happily proclaimed Aysha Alkusayer to us during the 2009 US-Islamic World Forum in Doha. Aysha represented the Alwaleed bin Talal Foundation of Saudi Arabia at the Doha Forum. One of the young professional Saudi women who are working to empower Saudi women, young professionals and civil society, Aysha told us that young Saudis are very supportive of King Abdulla’s moves to transform Saudi Arabia. In fact, she said, King Abdulla is treated like a rock star, with young Saudis buying his posters to adorn their rooms.

Aysha is one of the rare few Saudi women who have been given to opportunity to work at their profession. A paper circulated at the forum, “The Impact of Oil Wealth on Women in the Middle East”, noted, “There is little doubt that in the Middle East, women lag far behind their counterparts in other regions of the world”. The showed that while women generally do better in the rich countries than the poor ones, “The Middle East is the great exception: even though the region enjoys relatively high incomes, it has fewer women in the work force, and fewer women in parliament, than even South Asia—where incomes are far lower”.

Norah al-Fayez’ appointment, while it does not break the glass ceiling, has created a tiny crack which the forces for reform and liberalization can certainly exploit.

* I was in Doha for the US-Islamic World Forum from February 13 to 17. Organized by the Saban Center at Brookings and the Government of the State of Qatar, the Doha Forum annually brings together leaders from the U.S. and the Muslim world for “frank dialogue on the key issues affecting their relations”. This year, we discussed “Common Challenges,” as the Obama Administration has reached out to the Muslim world to move forward, together, towards common solutions to shared problems.

The dialogues at the Forum have focused on security, governance and religion, and human development and social change. This year, a session for Women Leaders was added. As you can imagine, King Abdullah’s historic move certainly impressed. Not only did he appoint a woman minister, he also axed Sheikh Ibrahim al-Ghaith as the head of the Muttawa (religious police who strictly enforce Islamic code of conduct such as segregation of unrelated men and women in public places, women to be covered in black robes with only their faces showing). Under Al-Graith, the Muttawa was a feared institution. Al-Graith blocked many liberalization programs in the Kingdom.

King Abdullah’s sweeping changes included a cabinet reshuffle and the reorganization of the powerful Grand Ulama Council, which advises the King on religious matters.

The King also removed Sheikh Salih Ibn al-Luhaydan from the judiciary. Last Ramadan, Al-Luhaydan had ruled that it was permissible to execute the owners of satellite television channels broadcasting “immoral” programs. He and Al-Graith have been widely viewed as enemies of reform and modernization.

King Abdullah’s sweeping changes included a cabinet reshuffle and the reorganization of the powerful Grand Ulama Council, which advises the King on religious matters. The reorganization will bring in scholars from different branches of Sunni Islam. Traditionally, the Ulama Council members all came from only one school of Islamic jurisprudence (what is referred to as the Wahabbi).

King Abdullah’s initiatives are hailed in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East as moves that will accelerate the pace of reform in the Kingdom as well as bring in new and moderate views into the political system.

Former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who spoke at the Doha Forum, must have been just as happy. She spoke of a world where ideas are hard to contain, where the path of dialogue is the right path. She stressed the responsibility of groups (or countries) defending their legitimate group interests without depriving others of their rights. Even the talk of General David Petraeus, Commander of the US Central Command, reflected the shift to dialogue as he spoke of the strengthening of international security by strengthening networks in pursuit of common goals. He mentioned a security architecture that would include a leaders network, information sharing and training networks (designed with multilateral inputs).

With the commitment of the Obama Administration for a common way forward, the developments in Saudi Arabia can usher in a brave new world, where wars can be waged in the arena of ideas and not in bloody Arab streets like Gaza. Where weapons of choice will be carefully argued position papers and not deadly missiles. # # #

For the right Reason

I made a very hard decision that probably moulds me to another level of consciousness.

In a democratic society such as ours, politics is everywhere, in workplace and even in a small group of people that binds together for a certain objectives. Opposing views are welcome in any organizations; therefore it is a healthy means to identify diversities of actions that would satisfy the needs of the majority.

think1If we analyze the process of making principled decisions, we will improve the chances of making effective decisions that satisfies our needs and the people that benefits from it. Though we should be perceptive about how we will feel about the consequences of our actions, now and in the future.

Being one of the prime movers for the unity among overseas Filipinos for political empowerment is a decision that I will never regret.

A sort of an advice to my readers. There comes a time that you’re stuck in the middle and you will decide on something but “you don’t know what to do”. Think and remember “You know what to do, just do the right thing for the right reason”.


Massive Fingerprinting of Expats Begins

Massive Fingerprinting of Expats Begins





7 Feb. 2009/Diraiyah, Riyadh

Saudi Government through its Director General of the Passport Department are now  implementing finger-printing on all migrant workers here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

This massive fingerprinting of expatriates begins today 7 February, 2009 at Saudi Oger, Diraiyah compound.

The order from the Passport Department is to strengthen its internal security measures against terrorist activities and infiltration;  crimes such as drug smuggling, manufacturing and alcohol use, visa forgery, immoral act and back door activities where undocumented expatriates were able to flee the country despite of police and court pending cases.

Although the order was already issued last year but authorities are now on its massive implemention stage. Today thousands of expatriates including Filipinos from various companies in Riyadh arrived at Diraiyah where the fingerprinting and photos of expatriates were taken at Saudi Oger compound.  

According to the interior ministry security experts substantial increase in crimes involving foreigners  were reported. Mandatory fingerprinting will help solve crimes and prevent those expats or foreigners with criminal backgrounds to return the country with false names or new identity. The system will uncover their presence upon entering the country’s air and sea ports. According to an Immigration official, “this could also prevent expatriates to leave the country using backdoor facilities”.  

The finger-printing requirement was already implemented to new expatriates coming in the Kingdom and former expatriates with new employer.

The system is now being implemented in the airport Immigration upon arrival of foreigners  to work in the country.

OFW Congress an organization of Filipino Community leaders in Riyadh, advocating OFW issues and concerns are worried about undocumented OFWs, overstaying, stranded  and ran away OFWs roaming around the four corners of the Kingdom.  Engr. Faisal Sharque of OFWC said “the Philippine Embassy and Philippine Consulates must be ready to help and protect its nationals and to house undocumented OFWs  that will surely ask for their assistance”.  

In King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology-KACST, a Government institution provide buses to their expatriate employees going to Diraiyah, Saudi Oger compound in compliance to the order.

“Philippine Embassy officials should act as early as possible and invite Filipino Community organizations to a meeting where  proactive solution to the problem must be acted upon before the jails of the Kingdom will be congested with Overseas Filipino Workers” a member organization of OFW Congress said.    

Exclusive Report by: Aiman Ahmad

Exemplary Filipino

Dr. Rusty Balderian  has been featured in the Philippine Daily Inquirer with the title of “Doc Shares Blessings with Leyte Youth”  published on November 8, 2008.

Tabon Tabon, Leyte Mayor Rusty Balderian

Tabon Tabon, Leyte Mayor Rusty Balderian

This is a story of a young man from a family which owned a sari sari store in the town of Tabontabon, Leyte who practically supported himself as a working student to become an optometrist and a physician.  He went to the United States and run several successful businesses. 
In 2003 he went back to his hometown and opened a school for nursing.  Out of the initial enrollment of 153 only 60 graduated due to the requirement to maintain an average grade of 2 with no grade in any subject lower than 2.5.  Out
of the 60 graduates only 57 took the nursing licensure examination and out of the 57 who took the nursing licensure examination 52 passed making his school the highest in the number of graduates passing the examination in the region and the ninth in the whole country.

At present there are 648 students and all are 100% scholars with free use of the dormitory. This is what makes the school unique. Parents are required to work in the school for 8 hours a day. The other requirement is for graduates to pass the Philippine board examination and the NFLEX and work in the U.S. When they start working they are required to send $1000.00 a month to their parents. This amount, Dr. Balderian believes, will be spent in the community by building better homes which in turn will provide jobs for local people and multiplier effect on the local economy of the town.
What makes Dr. Balderian so exemplary? 
1. His own passion to secure education and be successful in business

2. His desire to help his community by sharing his success and offering scholarship to the youth of his town

3. His vision, creativeness and innovativeness in creating a unique school that will improve the economy of his town and help the poor while encouraging the youth to seek higher education that will qualify them to work abroad.

4. His superb administrative ability to manage a school and run a town as mayor with passion for progress and help his town as the driving force that can only end up in success.

5. His ambitiousness and courage to start something that has never been done before (school of nursing offering full scholarship to each student)

6. Despite his successful business in the U.S.A. he still went back to the homeland to start helping his town and its people. 

This is why I am anxious to share this information that he may serve as a model and inspiration for all of us.  We need more people like him.

By: Bart Saucelo