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.

Dr. Lilak Al-Safadi, president of the Saudi Electronic University

Updated 05 July 2020

Dr. Lilak Al-Safadi, president of the Saudi Electronic University

Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh recently announced the appointment of Dr. Lilak Al-Safadi as president of the Saudi Electronic University. She becomes the first woman to chair a Saudi university that includes both male and female students.

She has worked as executive director for more than 20 years in business development, business consulting and strategic leadership, and accumulated experience in project management.

She has also published more than 50 research papers and articles on research topics such as e-commerce and artificial and commercial intelligence.

Al-Safadi was the vice president and national technology officer at Microsoft and is a faculty member at the King Saud University, Riyadh.

She also worked as a consultant to the governor of the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Monshaat), and a consultant to the vice presidency for planning, quality and development at the Saudi Electronic University. 

Al-Safadi is a graduate from the University of Wollongong, Australia with a Ph.D. in computer science which she completed in 2002; she majored in software engineering and completed her master’s in computer science in 1995. 

In a telephone interview with Al-Ekhbariya channel, Al-Safadi said that her appointment had many implications not only for empowering women and enhancing their role, but also as an indication of the Kingdom’s commitment to women’s equity at all levels, including equal opportunities in leadership and competition.