Filipinos in US-ally Saudi Arabia cautioned to exercise vigilance, coordinate with authorities

Marje Pelayo   •   January 8, 2020   •   1285

A general view shows the Royal Hotel Clock Tower located near the Haram Sharif mosque during sunset. EPA/ ALAA BADARNEH

MIDDLE EAST – Philippine officials in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Iraq are calling on Filipinos there to heed their advisory and exercise vigilance amid the rising tension between the United States and Iran which will most likely affect the rest of the countries in the Middle East.

In an advisory, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh cautioned the Filipino communities in KSA against potential security threats, thus Embassy officials advised Filipinos to observe security measures and protocols established by the Saudi government, and abide by the laws, rules, and regulations of the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Embassy assures Filipinos that procedures for potential evacuation and repatriation are in place should they be affected or displaced by the impending hostilities.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been a long-time ally of the United States since the establishment of their full diplomatic relations in 1933.

Reports said regional activities by the slain Iranian General Qasem Soleimani frequently targeted Saudi Arabia and its allies. 

Based on records of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the KSA is the second country in the world that hosts the most number of Filipinos, nearly a thousand less than one million in the agency’s 2014 data.

For security-related incidents, information on developing security situations on the ground, and requests for assistance, Filipinos in the Kingdom may contact the following:

A. Assistance-to-Nationals Section (ANS) – Philippine Embassy in Riyadh
1. Landline Number – 011-480-1918
2. Hotline Number – 056 989 3301
3.E-mail Address – assistance@riyadhpe.com

B. Assistance-to-Nationals Section (ANS) – Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah
1. Hotline Numbers – 055 219 613 / 055 219 614
2. E-mail Address – ans@pcgjeddah.org

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PH Navy rescues 2 Malaysians, 2 Filipinos from capsized speedboat in Tawi-Tawi

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 11, 2021

 

The Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) on Friday rescued four passengers of a capsized speedboat in the vicinity of the seawaters off Sibutu Passage, Tawi-Tawi province.

Two Malaysian nationals and two Filipinos were rescued after the NFWM received information about a speedboat that capsized west of Bongao Island, Tawi-Tawi on October 7.

It was found that the speedboat capsized due to bad weather and unfavorable sea condition. The boat sank along with its light cargoes leaving the four floating in the water for 15 hours.

All four passengers suffered minor injuries and were exhausted after long hours of floating at sea waiting to be rescued. They were identified as Hassan Bin Sayadi, 59 years old, and Majid Bin Ajahun, 46 years old, both Malaysian nationals, while the two Filipinos were identified as Jerry Erni, 35 years old, and Solar De Leon, 40 years old.

The passengers said they came from Sabah and were en route to Bongao via Sibutu aboard their speedboat.

“Without the report of the commercial vessel and the rescue effort of the Philippine Navy, maybe we are already dead. This is our second life and we owe this to you,” said a teary-eyed Hassan Bin Sayadi in Malay.

The rescued individuals were turned over to the Fleet Medical Team of Naval Task Group Tawi-Tawi for proper medical attention. AAC

 

DFA welcomes arrival of 323 repatriated Filipinos from Abu Dhabi 

Maris Federez   •   August 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The government has welcomed 323 Filipinos that flew in from the United Arab Emirates, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

A fifth DFA-chartered repatriation flight from the UAE for the month of August, and the twelfth from the UAE since June 2021 carrying the 323 Filipinos landed at the Davao International Airport on Wednesday (August 25).

This brings the total of repatriated Filipinos from the country to 5,041 since the start of the pandemic in February 2020.

In a statement, the DFA said that as part of health and safety protocols, all repatriates were tested and have yielded negative results in the RT-PCR COVID-19 test at least 48 hours prior to their departure from the UAE.

The repatriates will also undergo stringent, facility-based quarantine provided by the Philippine government, it added.

The DFA said the newly arrived also received USD 200 as reintegration assistance.

DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola expressed the department’s gratitude to its partners for their support of the government’s repatriation efforts.

“We are ever thankful to all our partners from the local government and agencies, our foreign service posts, host governments, as well as our people who work tirelessly and have been extra generous with their time in ensuring that our repatriations are successful. Again, we reiterate our readiness to assist all our distressed kababayans who want to go home,” Arriola said.

78 Filipinos in Afghanistan awaiting repatriation

UNTV News   •   August 17, 2021

KABUL, Afghanistan — A total of 78 overseas Filipinos in Afghanistan who availed of mandatory repatriation are still waiting for a chartered flight home to the Philippines, the president of a Filipino community organization there confirmed with UNTV on Tuesday (August 17).

According to Joseph Glenn Gumpal, president of the Samahang Pilipino sa Afghanistan, the Philippine government assured they will be boarding anytime.

“Ginawa ng Philippine government kumuha ng chartered (flight) sa Philippine Airlines through US forces kaya dito kami sa military base magbo-board,” he said.

Based on record, there are about 173 Filipinos in Afghanistan, 32 of whom had recently been repatriated.

Some of them fled to safer grounds while there are still others who are hesitant to leave.

“Kasi andito ang negosyo nila, particular iyong tinatawag naming free lancers. May mga negosyo sila rito. Iyong last count ko sa free lancers they were eight pero three yata iyong ayaw umuwi dahil ang iniisip nila the situation is already normal because ongoing na transition,” Gumpal noted.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) meanwhile assured repatriating Filipinos of cash assistance through its program “Abot Kamay sa Pagtulong” (AKAP).

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the cash aid is US$200, equivalent to P10,000.

Those who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic will also be assisted through the said program.

Upon arrival to the Philippines, those who are registered under the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are qualified for the agency’s reintegration program which offers livelihood projects and scholarships.

“Mayroon tayong program iyong AKAP, iyong Abot Kamay sa Pagtulong’ sa mga OFW. Mayroon silang makukuhang cash assistance at pagdating dito, kung sila ay bonafide OWWA member ay mayroon silang mga program under doon sa National Reintegration Program ng OWWA for the OFWs,” Bello said. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo.)

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