Filipinos mobilize support for Duterte

Updated 29 March 2016

Filipinos mobilize support for Duterte

RIYADH: A gathering of Filipinos and their families, estimated at 1,000, rallied here Friday as overseas absentee voters (OAVs) expressed and renewed their support to Rodrigo (Rody) Duterte, Davao City mayor and presidential candidate.
According to Manila Bulletin’s Facebook survey, as of 11:49 a.m., March 15, 2016, Duterte dominated the poll with 58 percent of 35,989 respondents rooting for him. Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas followed, taking 25 percent of the votes; while Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago received a nod from 9 percent of those who have cast their votes. The survey question was: Who are you voting for the 2016 elections?
Nadzker Hatnett, PR and media head of the Duterte Middle East Movement under Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas Ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said that the gathering bannered under theme, Make it happen: OFWs worldwide support, Duterte solid votes.
He added that the electoral objective of the group is to convert Duterte’s support into votes in this election.
“At least 40 OFW organizations’ representatives have attended aside from Filcom leaders and personalities,” Hatnett averred.
“Our group will start to quantify the expected votes we can deliver for Duterte from the pledge votes of overseas absentee voters and their families in Philippines,” the group’s PR man added. “Our target is to get the votes of at least 70 percent to 90 percent maximum of the total overseas absentee voters,” he said.
“We are constantly receiving invitations from various Filipino organizations here Kingdom-wide and in other Gulf countries where there are large concentrations of OFWs. These organizations wanted us to be with them to confirm their pledge of support for Mayor Duterte,” he added.
Hatnett revealed that last week the team was invited by a group of Filipino organizations during the opening of a basketball tournament in Alkhobar, in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, as its guest speaker discussing Duterte’s program and plans for OFWs. There are around 1.3 million OAVs who are expected to cast votes from the start of the one-month duration overseas absentee voting on.
The event was attended by Nedhal Abu Abdulrahman, a Saudi, who drew attention of the crowd because of his address to the gathering in fluent English and Tagalog throwing his support to Duterte.
“I participated in the event because I am passionate about the Philippines and the Filipino people. My several visits to the country included the city of Davao, which I found is one of safest, cleanest, and busiest cities there as a result of the relentless efforts sound effective leadership of its Mayor Duterte,” he told Arab News.
“Because Filipinos are decent, articulated, and well educated people, I think they deserve Duterte, who symbolizes peace, harmony and productivity, and they can compete with their neighbors in Taiwan, Japan, and Korea,” he added. A recorded video of his speech posted on Facebook got more than 1.1 million views since Friday.


Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

Updated 11 July 2020

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

  • Saudis turn to domestic traveling and flock to their nation’s cooler cities and rural areas

TAIF: As Saudi citizens turn to domestic tourism in the country’s summer resorts, adapting to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, rural areas have become targeted by local tourists wishing to get away from the soaring temperatures in most of the Kingdom’s cities.

Visitors are now choosing cold Saudi cities instead of Europe, which they are accustomed to visiting, such as Taif, Al-Baha, and Abha.

COVID-19 has postponed all plans to travel abroad, and attention has now focused on domestic tourism amid strict health protocols in parks, gardens and recreational areas.

Walid Al-Hamidi, vice president of the Tourism Development Council, confirmed to Arab News that Asir, with its facilities and attractions, was ready to receive summer visitors from across the country.

He said that under the directives of Asir's governor, who supervises all activities and events directly and constantly, many committees had been formed to prepare a successful summer tourism season, to optimize the opportunity and allow people to enjoy the exceptional ambiance of Asir.

“A comprehensive tourism plan was set up two years ago, which resulted in a successful Al-Soudah Season with the support of Asir’s Investment Authority,” Al-Hamidi added.

He noted that Asir’s directives aimed this year to build an exceptional tourism model that meets optimal health standards in dealing with COVID-19.

The model is supported by the “Nashama Asir” team — consisting of 4,000 volunteers — who have been trained for months and have all the necessary skills to make the season successful. Their work will continue until the end of the pandemic and throughout the summer.

“Everyone is ready at public facilities, gardens and parks, to serve tourists,” he said, adding “tourists coming from all the over the Kingdom will be welcomed with smiles, enhanced services, and warm welcomes.”

Dr. Sami Al-Obaidi, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taif, told Arab News that the tourism sector was the economic backbone of any country or city.

He said that Taif was considered one of the most important tourist cities, given its many attractions  that made it top of any list of places to visit in the Kingdom.

“Suspending travel abroad, and limiting tourism … due to the coronavirus pandemic, makes us, as officials and citizens in Taif, well placed for a beautiful and safe tourism season for Taif’s citizens and visitors,” said Al-Obaidi.

“Meetings are held around the clock, headed by Saad Al-Maimouni, the governor of Taif, with the participation of the relevant authorities.”

He expected all sectors, especially tourism, hospitality and a few other businesses in Taif, to recover to some extent during this season, especially now tourists have already started flocking to the region, with numbers set to increase over the coming weeks.