Manila welcomes arrival of first Saudi labor attache

Manila welcomes arrival of first Saudi labor attache
Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III attends a recent Senate meeting in Manila. (File/AFP)
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Updated 05 September 2020

Manila welcomes arrival of first Saudi labor attache

Manila welcomes arrival of first Saudi labor attache
  • Move part of measures to strengthen employment links

MANILA: The Philippines on Saturday welcomed the appointment of Saudi Arabia’s first labor attache to Manila as part of a plan to improve employment services between the two countries.

Mohammed bin Obaidullah Al-Mutairi was greeted by the Kingdom’s envoy to Manila, Abdullah Al-Bussairy, at the embassy headquarters in Makati City, where the first labor attache office outside the Kingdom is also located.

“It’s a welcome development because this will provide us closer and easier coordination, especially with respect to the welfare of our overseas workers in the Kingdom,” Philippines Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III told Arab News on Saturday.

Bello said the move will help the deployment as well as repatriation of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia.

Asked why the Kingdom had sent a labor attache to the country, Bello said: “The appointment is an indication of their desire to have more workers from the Philippines. They must have seen that we are slowing down deployment of our workers there.”

However, any changes in employment will depend on “conditions in Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding that many Filipinos in the Kingdom had died due to the coronavirus.

Recently, the Philippines repatriated the bodies of more than 250 OFWs who died of COVID-19 in the Kingdom.

“President Rodrigo Duterte is emphatic that the Philippines, at this time, cannot send workers to countries with high numbers of COVID-19 cases,” Bello said.

The appointment of the Saudi attache to the Philippines “will improve labor relations between the two countries,” he added.
Bello said he had previously “expressed openly and publicly my displeasure over what the Saudi government did when they decided to bury some of our countrymen who died from COVID-19 without the permission of relatives and without even notifying us.”
Bello added: “That’s the reason I slowed down deployment of our workers there.”
The labor secretary and other government officials are scheduled to meet Al-Mutairi on Wednesday.
Subjects for discussion include the provision of employment contracts for OFWs in Saudi Arabia. 
Bello said that recruitment agency representatives also should be allowed to “regularly visit and check on the condition of Filipino workers.” 
The Department of Foreign Affairs also welcomed Al-Mutairi’s appointment and the opening of the Saudi labor office.

“The assignment of a resident labor attache in the Saudi Embassy in Manila will strengthen cooperation between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia in general and between the two countries’ labor departments/ministries in particular,” Foreign Affairs Assistance Secretary Eduardo Meñez told Arab News.

He said that Saudi Arabia hosts one of the largest Filipino communities in the world and the largest in the Middle East, with almost 1 million Filipino migrant workers now living in the Kingdom.

On Friday, after the Saudi ambassador received Al-Mutairi, officials discussed improving the quality of labor recruitment in the Philippines.

The labor attache in the Philippines is the first of seven, with six other offices to open in Egypt, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The move aims to facilitate the recruitment of workers and ensure they are qualified to meet Saudi Arabia’s labor market requirements.


Alarming study reveals effects of long COVID

Alarming study reveals effects of long COVID
Updated 50 min 42 sec ago

Alarming study reveals effects of long COVID

Alarming study reveals effects of long COVID
  • Almost a third of patients who recover return to hospital within 5 months, 1 in 8 dies
  • Author: ‘People seem to be going home, getting long-term effects, coming back in and dying’

LONDON: A new study has revealed the devastating toll that COVID-19 takes on those who recover, with patients experiencing a myriad of illnesses including heart problems, diabetes and chronic conditions.

The study by researchers at the University of Leicester and the UK’s Office of National Statistics said data shows that almost a third of patients who recover from infection return to hospital with further symptoms within five months, and one in eight die.

Out of 47,780 people who were discharged from hospital in the UK’s first wave, 29.4 percent were readmitted to hospital within 140 days, and 12.3 percent of the total died.

“This is the largest study of people discharged from hospital after being admitted with COVID-19,” said the study’s author Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at the University of Leicester.

“People seem to be going home, getting long-term effects, coming back in and dying. We see nearly 30 percent have been readmitted, and that’s a lot of people. The numbers are so large. The message here is we really need to prepare for long COVID.”

Long COVID is the term used to characterize the long-term effects that many patients experience after catching and subsequently recovering from the virus.

Khunti said the illnesses that people have been recorded as experiencing after recovering include heart, kidney and liver problems, as well as diabetes.

Other studies have found that patients experience breathlessness and fatigue, and some have even been confined to wheelchairs by long COVID.

The University of Leicester study has not yet been peer reviewed, meaning it has not yet undergone rigorous critique by peers in the field, but scientists have already hailed its results.

Christina Pagel, director of the clinical operational research unit at University College London, tweeted: “This is such important work. Covid is about so much more than death.”