Filipino group fears mass retrenchment of OFWs

Updated 26 January 2016

Filipino group fears mass retrenchment of OFWs

RIYADH: A Filipino group has warned of mass retrenchment of overseas foreign workers (OFWs) in the Middle East and urged the Philippines government to take necessary measures to help these people upon their return to the country.
The warning, by Migrante-Middle East (M-ME), the Filipino group for migrants’ support, comes on the heels of the pink slip given to around 30 OFWs by a Saudi construction firm they had recently joined.
“We have been observing the current economic scenario and a sharp drop in oil prices in Saudi Arabia, which hosts more than a million of OFWs,” M-ME regional coordinator John Monterona told Arab News.
Monterona said the Saudi Arabian government has already undertaken economic reforms such as budget cuts and austerity measures. It has even increased the local oil prices by around 50 percent and is seriously considering imposing Value Added Tax (VAT) by the end of 2016, he said.
“Government projects, including infrastructure and the development of various economic cities, have also been affected. Some of these projects have been delayed and some have been temporarily stopped. Hence, many OFWs and expats from other countries working for private construction firms have received termination notices,” Monterona said.
According to him, at least 30 OFWs who were recently appointed by a construction firm were retrenched. “All are still under a three-month probationary period,” he said.
Monterona said: “The Philippines government should adopt short-term and long-term measures to assist the retrenched OFWs. Livelihood assistance loans and similar assistance packages must be made available to these workers, besides jobs,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Riyadh-based Filipino Expatriates Council for Justice, Peace and Order has expressed confidence that Saudi Arabia will handle pressing issues in a responsible manner. “We have full faith in the Kingdom’s peace initiatives, judicial proceedings and rulings, and protection of the country and its people,” it said.


Saudi Arabia welcomes Egypt’s new initiative for Libya

Updated 42 min 2 sec ago

Saudi Arabia welcomes Egypt’s new initiative for Libya

  • The Kingdom urged both the LNA and the GNA to implement a cease-fire immediately
  • Saudi Arabia also urged both to start negotiating under the auspices of the UN in order to establish safety in Libya

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia welcomed Egypt’s new initiative for Libya and president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s call for a cease-fire in the country on Saturday.
The Kingdom also welcomed all international efforts aiming to stop the fighting in Libya and encouraged negotiations based on the initiative, called the “Cairo declaration,” and recommendations made at the Geneva and Berlin conferences on Libya.
The Kingdom urged both eastern commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) to implement a cease-fire immediately.
Saudi Arabia also urged both to start negotiating under the auspices of the UN in order to establish safety and security in Libya and protect it from foreign interference.