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 governor reviews coronavirus preventive action in Northern Borders region

Northern Borders Region Gov. Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz chairs a virtual meeting in Arar on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 01 April 2020

Saudi governor reviews coronavirus preventive action in Northern Borders region

  • The governor urged citizens and residents to strictly follow government rules to combat COVID-19

ARAR: Northern Borders Region Gov. Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz on Tuesday chaired a virtual meeting in which top officials briefed him about the steps taken to combat the spread of coronavirus in the region. Prince Faisal reviewed the steps taken by government bodies in provinces, measures used to implement decisions, private efforts, preventive action, hygiene and sanitation procedures, and the application of health standards.
The governor also urged the public and government officials not to pay attention to rumors about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and asked them to rely only on the Health Ministry and the Saudi Press Agency.
Prince Faisal directed all government agencies to work around the clock to ensure public safety and well-being.
He stressed the need to ensure cleanliness in and around public areas and at food establishments to keep the threat of COVID-19 at bay.
The governor urged citizens and residents to strictly follow government rules to combat COVID-19.
A command and control center has also been established in Arar to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in the region and to take necessary measures according to the ground situation.