Manila asked to spare OFWs from extrajudicial killings

Philippine police inspect the bodies of two unidentified men after being killed in a police drug "buy-bust" operation before dawn on Sept. 23, 2016 in Pasig city, east of Manila. More than 3,000 suspected drug dealers and users have been killed since July in the Philippines’ drug war. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Updated 25 September 2016
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Manila asked to spare OFWs from extrajudicial killings

RIYADH: Filipinos in the Kingdom have called on the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to spare Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from extrajudicial killing in connection with its drug campaign.
They were reacting to a report aired by TV Patrol on ABS-CBN on Sept. 23, regarding the killing of 27-year-old Mark Culata, an OFW who was working in the Kingdom and was just taking his vacation.
Culata was arrested by operatives of government at a checkpoint in Cavite Province, south of Manila, but was found dead later on.
“Being an OFW, Culata could not be ‘a pusher.’ He had just come from the Kingdom which is very strict when it comes to illegal drugs,” said Arnold G. Pineda, a Filipino community worker in Buraidah.
He said: “Culata’s death was a total disregard of OFWs’ contributions to our country, particularly its economy.”
Eduardo R. Rodriguez, spare parts manager of Arab Equipment Est. in Dammam, said that government operatives in Philippines should exercise restraint in identifying drug suspects.
“They should have conducted a thorough investigation before arresting Culata,” he said.
What’s worse, he added, Culata was found lifeless after his arrest.
In Riyadh, John Leonard Monterona, a human rights advocate, also called on the Philippine government to spare vacationing OFWs from what it called a “senseless and inhuman extrajudicial killing in the name of the government’s war on illegal drugs.”
“We were shocked and alarmed upon hearing the report about the alleged torture and killing of Culata,” he said.


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”