DFA reminds Filipinos in Saudi Arabia to follow rules on public decency

Robie de Guzman   •   October 10, 2019   •   454

Street vendors wait for customers at Al-Balad market in the old city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 05 September 2017. EPA-EFE/MAST IRHAM

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reminds Filipinos traveling to Saudi Arabia to follow the kingdom’s new rules on public decency.

In an advisory, the DFA noted the 19 offenses identified in Saudi Arabian government’s new regulation that are punishable by fines:

  • Indecent behavior that includes any act of sexual nature.
  • Playing music in high volume without obtaining prior approval, and a comment is made by one or more residents.
  • Playing music during prayer times.
  • Non-removal of pet excrement by owner.
  • Littering in non-designated areas and spitting.
  • Occupying the seats and facilities designated for the elderly and the disabled.
  • Bypassing barriers to access public places.
  • Wearing improper clothing in public places. Dress code for visitors to Saudi Arabia shall be in accordance with the standards set for such purpose.
  • Dressed only in underwear or sleepwear.
  • Wearing in public places clothing that bears profane language or obscene images or symbols.
  • Wearing in public places clothing that bears languages, images or symbols that encourage discrimination or racism, or promote porn or drug use.
  • Writing or drawing or any other similar act, without authorization on public transportation vehicles and on public walls.
  • Placing slogans or images on public transportation vehicles that encourage racism, promote porn or advocate drug use.
  • Placing commercial labels and distributing flyers in public places without permission.
  • Igniting fires in non-designated areas in parks and public places.
  • Any act, whether physical or verbal that may harm, frighten or endanger any individual in a public place.
  • Skipping waiting lines in public places, unless permitted.
  • Exposing people in public places to harmful lighting such as laser beams, that may harm, frighten or endanger such people.
  • Taking pictures or videos of people, traffic accidents, crimes or other incidents without permission. The images taken shall be deleted

“The new regulation helps ensure that travelers to Saudi Arabia are reminded of laws that concern public behavior, including rules on immodest clothing, public display of affection, taking photos or videos of people without permission, playing music at prayer times, among others,” the DFA said in a statement.

The department urged Filipino travelers to familiarize themselves with Saudi public decency laws to avoid violations.

The DFA said that the Saudi Arabian government has identified the Saudi Police as the sole authority responsible for monitoring offenses and imposing fines.

“Offenders have the right to submit a grievance claim before the Common Courtesy Department and to appeal any penalties. Any person harmed by offenders shall have the right to file a lawsuit,” the DFA noted.

Click this link for the complete list of public decency offenses and their corresponding fines.

Stranded Filipinos from the UAE arrive in PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 4, 2020

Stranded Filipinos from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Wednesday (June 3), according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

In a statement, the DFA reported 274 Filipino repatriates underwent the necessary medical protocols upon arrival. They will also undergo the 14-day quarantine before they will be allowed to go home to their families.

The DFA also said over 31,000 Filipinos have been repatriated since February.

“A total of 31,528 Overseas Filipinos (OFs) have been repatriated by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) since it began bringing back Filipinos affected by COVID-19 in February 2020,” the DFA said. AAC

DFA launches new online appointment, passport application systems as part of ‘new normal’

Robie de Guzman   •   June 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has launched a new system for the online processing of passport and courtesy lane applications.

The DFA Office of the Consular Affairs said the Online Passport Application System (OPAS) and the Courtesy Lane Online Appointment System (CL-OAS) is now open to facilitate ePassport applications submitted through the courtesy lane facility at the DFA Aseana and its consular offices.

These systems are available through onlineappform.passport.gov.ph and passport.gov.ph.

The DFA said the launching of new systems is in line with the physical distancing measures being implemented amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

It added that this initiative will also ensure a faster and more efficient process for the applicants, especially overseas Filipino workers and senior citizens.

“The system reduces the time spent on site by courtesy lane applicants and allows a more streamlined transaction,” the DFA said.

The CL-OAS will also allow cashless transactions and enable courtesy lane clients to pay for passport fees and book a slot in advance.

For those who are not eligible to use the courtesy lane facility, the DFA said they may still use the regular ePassport appointment system through passport.gov.ph.

The requirements for courtesy lane eligibility, may be viewed here

For inquiries on courtesy lane facility and passports, the public may send a message to the DFA at e-mail addresses oca.cl@dfa.gov.ph or passportconcerns@dfa.gov.ph or call (+63) 2-8234-3488.

160 stranded Filipinos in Japan return home

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 2, 2020

After weeks of being stranded in Japan due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a total of 160 Filipinos are finally sent home on Monday (June 1).

The 160 Filipino tourists, workers, and students departed from Narita International Airport via a chartered flight mounted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo.

On the department’s Facebook post, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, Atty. Sarah Lou Y. Arriola, said that “the repatriation of distressed Filipinos abroad is firm commitment of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte which is dutifully being implemented by the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

Philippine Ambassador to Japan, Jose C. Laurel V assured the repatriates that the Philippine government will continue to provide assistance to Filipinos abroad.

According to the DFA, the said repatriated Filipinos will undergo COVID testing and hotel quarantine to wait out the results of their test. –AAC

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