Part blood money paid by KSA spares Filipino from death

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Updated 03 February 2013
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Part blood money paid by KSA spares Filipino from death

RIYADH: Filipino expats in the Kingdom expressed gratitude late yesterday following a Saudi government decision to shoulder the unpaid balance of the blood money sought by the Saudi family of a victim slain by an overseas Filipino worker (OFW).
“We thank Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and may the Almighty keep him in good health always so that he could continue extending humanitarian acts not only to Filipinos but other nationals as well,” Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago told Arab News from Manila.
OFW worker Rodelio Celestino “Dondon” Lanuza was sentenced to death for the June 2000 slaying of Mohamad Al-Qahtani, an Arab national. Late yesterday the Saudi Embassy in Manila announced that its government had made a directive for the payment of the balance of SR 2.3 million for handing over to the heirs of Al-Qahtani, who was stabbed to death by Lanuza what Lanuza claimed as self-defense.
“The Saudi government, after the heirs of the victim waived their right, has paid the balance of the blood money,” the Saudi Embassy announcement said.
Tago said that after the Saudi government has deposited the amount, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh will work with various parties involved to expedite the procedure for the release of Lanuza, who has been in jail for the last 11 years.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also welcomed the announcement and expressed gratitude for the Saudi government’s humanitarian gesture.
“This will pave the way for the issuance of an affidavit of forgiveness or tanazul in Mr. Lanuza’s favor,” Raul Hernandez, DFA spokesman, said in a text message. “We hope that as soon as all legal procedures are completed, Mr. Lanuza will finally be reunited with his family,” he added.
Mike G. Gaerlan, secretary-general of Migrante International-K.S.A., said: “King Abdullah has time and again shown generosity. In the case of Lanuza, he has shown extreme act of humanism.”
Lanuza, who worked as draftsman in the Kingdom in 1996, admitted to stabbing Al Qahtani and was sentenced to death by beheading in 2002.
In February 2011, the Philippine government and the Saudi Reconciliation Committee in Dammam helped Lanuza secure forgiveness from the victim’s family, which required a diyya, or compensation, amounting to 35 million pesos (approximately SR 3.5 million).
Lanuza’s ordeal had also been the subject of the Facebook account “Help Save a Life, Help Save Dondon Lanuza from Death Row.”
The Saudi Embassy said that Lanuza’s mother had earlier filed an appeal for the Saudi government to pay the balance after she was able to raise SR 700,000.
The OFWs running the Facebook page reported raising 10.6 million pesos (approximately SR1.6 million) as of Jan. 10 through several bank accounts.
The Saudi Embassy said that Lanuza’s mother had earlier filed an appeal for the Saudi government to pay the balance after she was able to raise SR 700,000.
The embassy also said that the goodwill gesture was the result of the coordination with the Office of Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is the presidential adviser on OFW affairs.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.