9/12/2011, RIYADH: Just recently H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin Tago presented his credentials as new Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom to His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia. Upon formally assumed office as the new Chief of Mission (COM) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin Tago’s first order of business is to bring the Embassy closer to its nationals.
The Filipino Community in Riyadh received an invitation coming from POLO Labor Attaché Albert Q. Valenciano, inviting the Filipino Community organizations to participate in a meeting on Thursday, 15 September 2011 at the Embassy Chancery.
H.E. Ezzedin Tago, Ambassador and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen will discuss with the Filipino Community leaders the following agendas: New Saudization Policy of the Kingdom, Government Repatriation Program, the Absentee Voting and other relevant concerns.
The Saudi government started yesterday, September 11, 2011 the implementation of the Nitaqat restrictions to those companies who failed to comply with the Saudization targets. The sanction for non-complying companies will be the non-renewal of work permits of foreign workers. However, companies categorized in Red categories may still have time to comply up to December 11, 2011 while those in Yellow categories are given up to March 11, 2012 to improve the compliance.
The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah advised OFWs in the Kingdom to check from time to time the Embassy ( http://www.philembassy-riyadh.org ) and Consulate ( http://www.pcgjeddah.org ) websites respectively, for new developments.
In an advisory released last month by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) stated that the Embassy, through the POLO officers, will provide the necessary assistance to affected OFWs.
Other important matter to discuss is how to improve the present program of the Government in assisting the repatriation of Filipinos who overstayed in the Kingdom and to make sure that the shelter where our kababayan stay inside the Hajj Terminal are in good condition and comfortable while awaiting for their scheduled repatriation.
It may recalled that the used of Hajj terminal is a special arrangement made by the Philippine Government represented by the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah with Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the approval of the Office of the Emir of Makkah to address the cases of Filipinos staying under the Sitteen Khandara overpass.
Among issues to be discussed are the plight of OFWs in distressed or OFW runaways housed at Filipino Workers Resource Centers and those in the Saudi Welfare Administration facility run by the Saudi government where female expatriates runaways in various nationalities are housed pending the required exit clearance from their sponsors to be deported.
In the upcoming meeting of the FilCom and Embassy/POLO/Riyadh includes; the continuing Overseas Absentee Voting registration. The one year OAV continuing registration will start from October 31, 2011 to October 31, 2012.
In the last two absentee voting exercises, Filipino community participation were among seen as one of the contributing factors of the low turnout of voters registration and voters turnout during 2007 and 2010 elections. The new Philippine Chief of Mission in Saudi Arabia, H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin Tago will see to it that the Filipino community organizations must be involved this time.
The Philippine Overseas Absentee Voting mechanism was implemented in 2003, 2007 and 2010 Philippine elections to provide an opportunity for Filipinos abroad to exercise their right in electing the President, Vice President, Senators and one Party-list Representative. –end- BongA