Saudi Arabia, Philippines agree to resume deployment of Filipino workers – Arab News

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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the Philippines have agreed to resume the deployment of Filipino workers (OFWs) to the Kingdom from November 7 after several days of top-level bilateral discussions between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia is the most preferred destination for OFWs, hosting one out of five Filipinos working abroad. More than a million Filipinos work in the Kingdom, many in construction or as household workers or nurses.
The Philippines has earlier suspended the deployment of workers to Saudi Arabia, citing various issues relating to labor and employment rights of its citizens.
In a joint statement issued Tuesday, both countries agreed to undertake joint measures “to facilitate the decent and productive employment of OFWs and ensure the protection of their rights.”
Minister for Human Resources and Social Development Minister Ahmad Bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi led the Saudi Arabia’s delegation who met with Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople’s team.
“We are grateful to Minister Al-Rajhi and the government of Saudi Arabia for sharing our concern for the rights of our workers. Likewise, we intend to move forward by working together on implementing mechanisms that would ensure the protection of our workers’ rights and welfare,” Ople said.
The Philippine official underscored the commitment of both countries for a joint partnership against the trafficking of migrant workers, and hailed the “convergence of concrete ideas and measures on how best to protect our OFWs while at the same time, deepening the ties between the two countries.”
Saudi Arabia’s labor ministry has committed to review a proposal to reduce the duration of the employment contract of domestic workers to one year, a statement from Ople noted.
Abdul Hannan M. Tago, the executive assistant of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, emphasized the significance of the resumption of the deployment of Filipino workers to Saudi Arabia, calling it a “very welcome development.”
The bilateral relationship is significant for both countries, as the first Filipino laborers landed in Saudi Arabia five decades ago.
Tago stated that the Philippines benefited significantly economically from its tie with Saudi Arabia, noting that the bulk of Filipino employees are skilled, and there are also excellent doctors, nurses, engineers, and mechanics.
“Many of us are aware that contracted domestic employees can cause a great deal of trouble and problems, which is understandable. However, the commercial ties between the two nations should not be jeopardized or harmed as a result, especially given that domestic workers do not comprise the majority of the two countries’ economic relations,” he noted.
Tago praised Filipino workers’ abilities, saying they love their jobs, are dedicated to achieving their responsibilities, work honestly, and have strong work ethics.
“Labor relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Philippines remained, but were marred by some problems during the last period,” Waleed A. Alswaidan, the former chairman of Saudi-Philippine Business Council, told Arab News.
“This (working with what was stated in the memorandum of understanding) requires the approval of the higher authorities on its provisions, including the change in work contracts,” Alswaidan said.
Alswaidan praised the Filipino workers who participated in the development of Saudi Arabia’s industry, health and various economic sectors, and said that “they are good and skilled workers that are respected by the Saudi investor.”
“The trade movement between the two countries is continuous and is not limited to workers only, but also includes many types of electronic trade, furniture, leather and food items, and there are Saudi goods exported to the Philippines,” he added.
“I hope that things will go in the best interest of all contractual parties. For example, there are 4 parties to contracts related to housekeeping workers that are the worker, the homeowner, the Philippine labor office, and the Saudi recruitment agency. It is important that contracts contribute to the satisfaction of all parties,” the CEO of Waleed Alswaidan Recruitment Agency stressed.
“The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development in Saudi Arabia has created an office for support and protection concerned with finding solutions to the problems of housekeeping workers in particular and solving the problems that occur between the employer and the workers,” he added.
RIYADH: The phrase “private aviation” conjures up images of billionaires in Lear jets hopping between Monte Carlo and the Bahamas — but entry into this world is surprisingly affordable and accessible, particularly in Saudi Arabia.
The proliferation of private aviation academies in the Kingdom has opened the way for ordinary men and women to obtain a private pilot license (PPL) in a matter of a few months — allowing you to fly for sport and recreation with a couple of passengers, but not for commercial gain.
Capt. Abubakar Mohamed, the chief ground instructor at Rabigh Wings Aviation Academy located just north of Jeddah, explained the procedure.
“You need to be at minimum 17 years old, preferably with a high school diploma, and the first requirement is an English placement test, whereby you need to achieve at least four out of six levels.
“You need a criminal record check along with a medical test and a drugs test, which are conducted at certain specified clinics authorized by GACA.
“Once all that is OK, you’re registered on the private pilot course, entailing 60 hours of ground training — which is the theory aspect.”
The entire process of obtaining a private pilot licence takes three to four months, with a total cost of about SR60,000 ($16,000) including exam fees.
Then you are ready to take to the skies. There is a minimum of 35 hours of flight training, first with an instructor and then solo. Trainees learn how to take off and land on short and grass runways, and to fly at night. Other exercises include stalling and restarting your plane mid-air.
“The idea is to prepare you up to GACA standards,” Mohamed said, “because they are the ones that give you the final oral, written and practical exams and issue your license.
It’s not only about getting the license — it’s the journey, and that’s what you should enjoy. We have an expression in Arabic: ‘Flying with happiness.’ And we are literally flying with happiness!’
Capt. Islam Saeed Gwayed, Safety and training manager at the Saudi Aviation Club in Thamamah
The GACA written exam is a computer-based multiple-choice quiz, following which is the final GACA assessment of your piloting ability.
The entire process takes three to four months, with a total cost of about SR60,000 ($16,000) including exam fees.
You can choose to study the required information yourself, with online materials, and go directly to the GACA written exam. This is cheaper option but misses out on the immersive experience of a real classroom with a professional tutor — and the camaraderie of your fellow trainees.
Some academies also offer training for the sport plane license, allowing you to fly a small sports aircraft with a maximum total payload of 600 kg including pilot and passenger. This requires only 20 hours of monitored and solo flying time — but again lacks the in-depth immersion of the full PPL course.
Having passed your GACA written and practical exams you will be the proud holder of a PPL — allowing you fly a lightweight single-engine aircraft.
Other types of aircraft, for example seaplanes and twin-engine planes, require more advanced qualifications. Also, a PPL only allows for “visual flight rules” — meaning that you are not permitted to fly in conditions of low visibility. Piloting in heavily adverse weather requires an instrument rating, with extra training and exams.
While most trainees see the PPL as a stepping-stone to a career as a commercial pilot, many simply aspire to flying as a fun and adventurous weekend sport.
But Capt. Islam Saeed Gwayed, safety and training manager at the Saudi Aviation Club in Thamamah, just north of Riyadh, sees piloting as life-enhancing in several respects.
“First, when you are in control of an aircraft, you are 100 percent in the moment, and disconnected from all your everyday problems and stress.
“Second, it adds to a person’s leadership and decision-making. Flying a plane carries a big responsibility and everything comes down to you as a pilot.
“Third, you’re learning a lot — about weather conditions, meteorology, the landscape as well as all the technical aspects of the plane and how airports work. And when you’re witnessing the world from a cockpit, it’s a very different perception of reality.
“Finally, it’s a hobby that can take you to another hobby — so if you want to play golf in Taif or scuba dive in Yanbu, you can just take your plane and go.”
Purchasing an aircraft does not have to set you back millions. Used sport planes (such as the four-seater Cessna Skyhawk 172) are available for as little as SR250,000 — with shared ownership making it even more affordable.
Mohamed recommends Saudi Arabia as a great place for private piloting, “because much of the airspace has relatively fewer restrictions than, say, London, where you have Heathrow, Stanstead, Gatwick and Luton airports, and all the military bases. Flying in and out can be a real challenge there, with so much air traffic.
“Here there is a wider choice of flight paths you can use. And this is a big country with a real variety of destinations. There’s nothing like viewing the Kingdom from the air.”
Gwayed has a word of advice for aspiring private pilots: “Enjoy it!”
“Some students say, ‘I want to finish the training, I need to get the license.’ But I tell them, ‘Just relax and take your time. You’ll probably learn more because you won’t be so stressed about getting the actual qualification. It’s not only about getting the license — it’s the journey, and that’s what you should enjoy.’”
“We have an expression in Arabic: ‘Flying with happiness.’ And we are literally flying with happiness!”
 
RIYADH: Youth on the autism spectrum in Saudi Arabia are showcasing their talents through a range of initiatives including the Hall 4 play, which took place on Friday in Riyadh.
The Charitable Society of Autism Families partnered with the Theater and Performing Arts Commission to host the Hall 4 play, which runs until Sunday at the Al-Rayyan Complex Theater of the Technical and Vocational Training Corp.
The play recalls comic and literary characters from contemporary and historical Arab works through a story that takes place in a train station heading to the future. The event runs from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The partnership aims at supporting individuals and members on the autism spectrum as well as their families. It also looks to increase awareness and knowledge in Saudi society to enable people with autism to lead healthy and active lives.
Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Farhan Al-Saud, chairman of the Charitable Society of Autism Families, told Arab News: “With partnerships, and specifically with this one, we aim at raising awareness of those diagnosed with autism and supporting them and their families.
“We were thrilled to see how our young members showed interest and participated in the play. I am very proud to see our young talented members growing and evolving with us in this journey, and so happy to see the smile and pride on their families’ faces. I hope that the show will be as delightful and happy as our members and that everyone will enjoy it,” he added.
Established in 2009, SAF has launched a range of programs and initiatives to support youth with autism and their families. The society’s programs include the Kafalah initiative, Society Stories, Psychological Guidance, Sports and Leisure, Rishat Tayf, Families Training, and Training and Recruitment.
Reducing stigmas around autism can be achieved by raising awareness and knowledge in the Kingdom.
Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Farhan Al-Saud, Chairman, Charitable Society of Autism Families
Prince Saud said: “We at SAF have established numerous partnerships with both governmental and private sectors which resulted in providing autistic individuals with great opportunities. We are proud of our partnership with the Ministry of Culture which enabled autistic youth to bring out their acting talents and show them to the world, and we look forward to many long-lasting partnerships with other organizations that will have a good impact on our society in Saudi Arabia and support youth with autism and their families.”
He added that reducing stigmas around autism can be achieved by raising awareness and knowledge in the Kingdom.
“Part of our core objectives are to raise social awareness and support the society’s institutional structure, which can be achieved through establishing partnerships with the government and private sectors involving our dear members and their families.”
He added that there are numerous plans on the agenda for the future, saying: “We firmly believe that, with the proper training, awareness, knowledge and continuous support, families with autism cases can seamlessly adapt to dealing with their members’ autistic cases to lead healthy and active lives.”
 
RIYADH: The closing statement of the Kazakhstan Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, attended by more than 100 delegations of influential international religious leaders, has praised the contents of the historic Makkah Document.
The document was signed by senior muftis, scholars and thinkers of the Islamic world in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, home of the Grand Mosque, affirming its importance in promoting peace, dialogue, cooperation and mutual respect for the good of the world.
Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, had assigned Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Zayd, deputy secretary-general of MWL, to represent the league in the congress.
Al-Issa sent a recorded television speech in the opening session of the congress, at the invitation of the Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, along with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in the presence of the Pope and international religious leaders.
In his speech, Al-Issa addressed the importance of “common values,” stressing that religious diplomacy is an important and influential tool in the context of promoting these values, as seen at the conference, bearing common humanitarian goals.
He noted the importance of dialogue and civilized and cultural communication, stressing that being far from each other has generated anxiety and fear and created a gap that widens with time due to illusions and doubts. He added that errors in perceptions and judgments have resulted in dangerous negative effects throughout human history.
Al-Issa refuted the theses that hold religions responsible for some conflicts and wars, declaring that most of the conflicts and wars throughout human history were the result of ideas blamed on religions, but in reality they only expressed the thoughts of their owners, and never expressed true religion or any civilized culture.
Many Islamic leaders participating in the conference described, in the final statement, the praise of Makkah Document as a great recognition of the historical achievement of this document, which is a significant turning point in contemporary Islamic history, due to its religious and intellectual context that embraces all Islamic sects.
The Makkah Document was celebrated on a number of international platforms for its religious and cultural diversity. It was also adopted by Islamic countries at the meeting of foreign ministers in Niamey, Niger, and it has been adopted in the training of imams in many Islamic countries and countries that include Muslim communities. The sponsor of this document was King Salman, who sponsored its international conference held in Makkah in 2019, organized by the MWL, with the approval of about 1,200 muftis and scholars and more than 4,500 Islamic thinkers.

 
 
RIYADH: As the 92nd Saudi National Day approaches, the Ministry of Commerce has clarified the regulations regarding the use of the Kingdom’s flag.
The ministry has warned that those found guilty of “showing disrespect” to the national flag in public will be jailed for one year and/or receive a fine of up to SR3,000 (just under $800).
The ministry confirmed that it is prohibited for “individuals and commercial establishments” to use the Kingdom’s flag — a white sword on a green background and white Arabic writing which translates as “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” — or the state emblem — two swords and a palm tree — or pictures of leaders and officials and their names in commercial dealings, including “publications, goods and products, media bulletins, special gifts and others.”
On October 1, 2018, a circular was issued to commercial establishments as part of the implementation of Royal Decree No. 3587, which prohibits the use of the state emblem in commercial transactions.
The ministry said that it is carrying out inspections of markets in all regions of the Kingdom to ensure no violations occur.
On October 1, 2018, a circular was issued to commercial establishments as part of the implementation of Royal Decree No. 3587, which prohibits the use of the state emblem in commercial transactions.
Lawyer Hatoon Jambi told Arab News, “Article 20 of the Saudi Arabia flag law issued by royal decree in 1973 states that whoever drops, executes, or insults in any way whatsoever the national flag, the royal flag, or any other emblem of Saudi Arabia or of a friendly foreign country out of hatred or contempt for the authority of the government or those countries, in public or in a public place or in a place open to the public, shall be punished.”
She added: “These rules and regulations are considered valid until a modified or different law is issued.”
 
Auoob Al-Dakael is a newly appointed risk management director at the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development. He was formerly the risk and business continuity management manager at Thiqah Business Services from March 2021 until August 2022.
Al-Dakael has participated in a number of international seminars on risk management and business continuity, and has trained other government agencies in risk management.
At Thiqah, he led his team in the provision of many risk management and business continuity workshops within the firm, as well as overseeing the development of risk registers and business continuity plans.
Between August 2014 and February 2021, Al-Dakael was the senior compliance officer at Saudi Central Bank, where he developed the bank’s compliance policy and procedures. As part of his role there, he was also the senior risk specialist between August 2014 and 2020.
Al-Dakael began his career at Saudi Central Bank as a banking and fraud inspector between August 2007 and August 2014.
The Council of Ministers noted that Al-Dakael had made a significant contribution to Saudi Central Bank winning the Best Risk Manager award for central banks in 2018-19.
Al-Dakael earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from King Saud University in 2005.
 

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