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

Robie de Guzman   •   October 10, 2019   •   131

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.

PH Embassy retains lawyer for Pinay worker case in Abu Dhabi

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 16, 2019

Mary Jean Balag-ey Alberto

The Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi has retained a lawyer for the case of overseas Filipino worker Mary Jean Balag-ey Alberto who died in Abu Dhabi on October 2.

“The Embassy now retains a lawyer to pursue immediate legal steps in connection with the death of Alberto,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) statement reads.

Based on reports from local authorities in Abu Dhabi, Alberto reportedly jumped from the building where she worked.

Foreign Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said the department is already in coordination with the family of Alberto.

“The Department shall respond appropriately once the results of the forensic investigation are released,” she said.

“The Department is extending all assistance necessary in the immediate resolution of the case, as well as in the repatriation of Ms. Alberto’s remains to the Philippines,” the statement added.—AAC

PH gov’t imposes OFW total deployment ban to South Sudan

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2019

Sudanese people wave national flags and South Sudan flag as they celebrate after signing the constitutional declaration between the ruling military council and protest movement, in Khartoum, Sudan, 04 August 2019. EPA-EFE/MARWAN ALI

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government on Monday (Oct. 7) has implemented a total ban on the deployment of workers to South Sudan amid escalating violence in the North African region.

In a statement, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said the imposition of the deployment ban is due to the “unstable peace and security situation,” which “threatens the safety of Filipino workers” in the said area.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the development comes after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised the crisis alert level to level four.

Citing information from the DFA, the alert in South Sudan was raised from level two “due to the upsurge in violence that erupted between the forces allied with President Salva Kiir and the Protection Unit from the SPLA in Operation (SPLA-IO) of Vice President Riek Machar.”

Alert level 4 means mandatory repatriation of Filipino workers in the affected area.

DOLE said a resolution has been issued by the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration stating its decision to “impose a total ban on the processing and deployment of all OFWs bound for South Sudan, until further notice.”

The resolution also noted the confirmation from the DFA that South Sudan is non-compliant on the review of Posts Certification pursuant to Section 3 of Republic Act (RA) 10022 due to the current unstable peace and order on the country.

RA 10022 provides that DFA should issue a certification specifying the countries compliance with any of the conditions on the deployment of Filipino workers.

2 Filipinos killed, 1 injured in Palau truck accident – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 3, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Two Filipinos were killed while another was wounded after they figured in an accident involving a truck in Palau Islands, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.

The Philippine Consulate General in Agana, which has jurisdiction over Palau Islands reported that three Filipinos were involved in an accident on Sept. 29 with a flatbed truck that lost control and fell into the sea.

“Based on initial investigation, Palau authorities do not believe there was foul play involved during the accident,” the DFA said.

Consul General to Agana Marciano de Borja reported that the Consulate General is working closely with Palau authorities to obtain further details on the accident amid ongoing investigation.

Foreign Affairs officials are also working for the immediate repatriation of the remains of the victims.

“The Filipinos’ employers have agreed to shoulder the cost of shipping the remains back to Manila,” the DFA said.

The Consulate also assured it is ready to provide assistance to the survivor as needed.

The DFA also extended its condolences to the families of the fatalities.

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