DOLE seeks more funds for repatriation of distressed OFWs in Middle East

UNTV News   •   December 1, 2017   •   4476

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III personally talked to the lawmakers to add more funds for the Department’s efforts to repatriate more than 200,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Qatar.

“We are requesting Congress to give us P850-million for the possible repatriation expense and another P200-P300 million for reintegration because when we bring them back we cannot afford to leave them unassisted,” Bello said.

This is in the event that the geopolitical situation in the Arab nations further worsens. – UNTV News & Rescue

Saudi-led ceasefire in Yemen begins, raising hopes for peace

UNTV News   •   April 10, 2020

A nationwide ceasefire in response to the global coronavirus outbreak went into effect in Yemen on Thursday (April 9), raising hope for an end to the five-year-old war that has pushed millions to the brink of famine.

A Saudi-led coalition fighting against Yemen’s Houthi movement said it would halt military operations from 0900 GMT for two weeks in support of United Nations efforts to end the conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people.

The Iran-aligned movement, which controls the capital Sanaa and most big urban centres, has yet to announce whether it will follow suit in what would be the first major breakthrough in peace efforts since late 2018.

The United Nations and Western allies have pointed to the threat of the coronavirus to push the combatants to restart talks to end the war, which has shattered Yemen’s health system.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Lise Grande, told Reuters at least half of Yemen’s population was in a “very degraded health status” while three quarters require some form of humanitarian assistance or protection.

The conflict, widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has been in military stalemate for years and brought Yemen’s economy to its knees. (Reuters)

(Production: Nael Shyoukhi, Ahmed Ansi, Abdelruhman Yahya, Tarek Fahmy, Hamuda Hassan)

Residents given 72 hours to return to Saudi Arabia in new travel ban

Marje Pelayo   •   March 13, 2020

SAUDI ARABIA – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Thursday (March 12) included Filipinos in the list of countries whose citizens are temporarily banned entry due to fears of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The new travel ban now covers all countries in the European Union plus the following countries:

  • Djibouti
  • Ethiopia
  • Eritrea
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Switzerland

The 13 countries are in addition to 14 nations earlier issued with a travel ban to the Kingdom due to health concerns.

In relation to the ban, all Saudis and legal residents are given 72 hours to return to the Kingdom.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) meanwhile clarified that the travel ban does not cover Filipinos who are health practitioners.

The Philippine Embassy in Saudi Arabia is still verifying the specific details of the ban such labor arrangements in case foreign workers fail to enter the Kingdom within the 72 hour deadline.

Saudi Arabia locks down province to contain coronavirus spread

UNTV News   •   March 9, 2020

Saudi Arabia imposed a temporary lockdown on its eastern Qatif province on Sunday to prevent further spreading of the novel coronavirus in the country.

As all the confirmed cases the country has seen so far are from Qatif, the government has decided to restrict residents from leaving the region, according to the health ministry in a regular conference on the same day.

Government organizations and private businesses in Qatif are to shut down, with the exception of health, sanitation and security departments, as well as pharmacies, grocery stores and gas stations.

The government will work to ensure all prevention measures are implemented and sufficient supply to the region.

As of Sunday, Saudi Arabia has reported 11 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection. Seven of the 11 diagnosed patients have recently been to Iran, while the rest had interacted with the ones who’ve visited the Islamic Republic.

Saudi Arabia has banned travel to Iran and warned of legal consequences to Saudi nationals who insist on traveling there. (REUTERS CONNECT)

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