Philippine Embassy receives expat flak

Updated 14 September 2013

Philippine Embassy receives expat flak

A group of Filipinos met on Monday at a Philippine restaurant here to give vent to their ire on issues concerning the functioning of the Philippine Embassy.
Overseas Filipino Workers Congress President Alex Bello presided over the meeting, at which Filipinos said they had not heard from the embassy about contingency plans in the event of a US missile attack on Syria.
“If that happens, Filipinos in the Kingdom could be affected,” they said. They obviously had in mind their experience when Iraq fired Scud missiles at towns in the Kingdom during the Gulf War. Many of them had to hide in various places believed safe. They noted that Philippine embassies in Kuwait and Qatar had issued advisories.
US President Barak Obama has sought a Congress approval for a Syria attack limited in scope. However, the imminent US attack has been suspended as Obama seeks a diplomatic solution to the crisis caused by the alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.
Arab News called Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago for his reaction on the issue but he said he didn’t see the need to issue an advisory yet, adding that he would inform Arab News if and when he issues one.
He later called Bello to inform him that the embassy as well as the consulate in Jeddah have contingency plans. Bello forwarded to Arab News a letter from Philippine Embassy Minister and Consul General Marshall Louis M. Alferez saying that the Philippine government was closely monitoring the developments in Syria.
“At present, there is no indication of a clear danger impacting countries neighboring Syria,” he said.
The Filipinos also complained that they have difficulty entering the embassy premises and talk to officials on issues regarding OFWs.
Earlier, an OFW sent a letter through Arab News website complaining against the practice of Filipinos being forced to make an online appointment regarding passport renewal. They pointed out that not all Filipinos have access to the Internet. This is true for janitors, truck drivers, construction workers and household service workers, especially those living in far-flung areas.
“The funny thing is OFWs cannot make an online appointment until December for Riyadh, Dammam, Jubail, Hafar Al-Batin and Hofuf,” he said.

Saudi program seeks ‘culture of dialogue, tolerance’

Updated 01 October 2020

Saudi program seeks ‘culture of dialogue, tolerance’

  • Islam has provided the first constitution that enhances the idea of common citizenship and freedom of religions

RIYADH: The King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and the Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation (IPDC) on Wednesday launched the Dialogue Program 2020 among religious leaders and organizations in the Arab world.

KAICIID secretary-general, Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar, said the center aims to enhance the culture of dialogue and coexistence, and highlight the value of human diversity.

He said the center also lays the foundations of understanding and collaboration among all religions and cultures, and highlights the importance of building a diverse culture.

The center provides sustainable solutions for today’s challenges, he added.

“Serious dialogue can enhance the role of interreligious institutions, helping to promote a culture of dialogue, coexistence and tolerance in society,” he said. “The message of the center addresses all humankind and not a specific society.”

The terrorist events that ripped through the region were the result of fanaticism and hatred, he said, noting that people of all diverse and multiple backgrounds can coexist peacefully in society.

“Islam has provided the first constitution that enhances the idea of common citizenship and freedom of religions. The Document of Madinah included a comprehensive constitution that guides people of different religious backgrounds on how to live together peacefully and practice their religion freely, and, most importantly, enhance the values of coexistence, justice, security and peace among one another,” he added.

Bin Muaammar called on those who have the capability to fight the discourse of extremism, saying that dialogue can enhance “human principles and values such as mercy, respect, tolerance, peace and social solidarity.”

He also urged religious leaders and institutions, as well as policymakers, to promote such values and strengthen comprehensive citizenship.

“Those leaders and institutions can fight and confront the threats facing peaceful coexistence and tolerance, threats that are posed by extreme groups,” he said. “Religious institutions should enhance the culture of common citizenship, each in their society.”

KAICIID contributes to such efforts through its experience and collaboration with relevant institutions around the world.

The Dialogue Program 2020 promotes dialogue, common citizenship and coexistence in the Arab world through cooperation in a range of projects. It also challenges messages of hate locally, nationally and regionally.