Repatriation ongoing for stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia

admin   •   April 10, 2017   •   4379

MANILA Philippines — 15,000 Filipinos may take advantage of the 90-day amnesty given by Saudi Arabia to foreigners with no appropriate documents.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the repatriation for undocumented overseas Filipino workers (PFWs) in Saudi Arabia is ongoing.

“But all I can say and share with you is that there’s an ongoing amnesty in Saudi Arabia. It will be a 90-day amnesty. And there’s about maybe 15,000 that are… Filipinos who are there that are qualified to avail of that amnesty. And… so, you know, the repatriation is ongoing,” said DFA Asec. Hjayceelin Quintana.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said DOLE is targeting around 15,000 OFW’s to be returned to the Philippines in April.

Bello added that some DOLE officials are in Saudi Arabia to help the OFW’s process their documents.

The DFA also assured that the government looking into the cases of Filipinos on death row in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

“So they are being studied by the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs and see which ones will be ripe for, you know, for clemency or for pardon, things like that,” Asec. Quintana said.

To date, 31 Filipinos are on the death row in Saudi Arabia, and one in Bahrain.

From April 10 to 16, President Rodrigo Duterte is set to visit Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.

The President’s visit in the middle eastern countries aims to further the labor cooperation for the welfare of the Filipino workers . — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

Duterte to join first virtual UN General Assembly debate

Marje Pelayo   •   September 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will join the United Nations (UN) General Assembly beginning Tuesday (September 22) where he will address more than 190 state and government leaders.

Due to the pandemic, the said gathering of leaders will be held online for the first time coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

This is also the first time President Duterte will participate in the said assembly that will end on September 26.

According to Chief of Presidential Protocol Robert Borje, the President will deliver his speech at the high-level general debate Tuesday night in the Philippines.

The Chief Executive will be the 12th among the 14 speakers set to speak at the UN-GA morning session.

This will be the President’s first time to address the UN General assembly, the main deliberative organ of the UN where all the 193 member states are represented,” Borje said.

The President will be able to cover several issues in his speech including the maritime dispute in the South China Sea as well as issues on human rights and justice in the country to which his controversial war on drugs campaign is related.

“President Duterte will article principal positions of the Philippines on a wide range of issues. I do not want to pre-empt the President, but these are of key importance to the country,” Borje said.

Borje identified the main points Duterte is expected to raise during the assembly which include: global response to the coronavirus pandemic; peace and security including terrorism, geo political developments in the Asia Pacific; sustainable development and climate change; rule of law; justice and human rights including the situation of migrant workers and refugees; peace-keeping; and United Nations reforms. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Senators to give anti-red tape emergency powers to Duterte

Marje Pelayo   •   September 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants agencies to streamline transactions for investors coming to the Philippines. 

According to Senate President Vicente Sotto III, this was one of the topics they discussed during a meeting in Malacañang last Wednesday (September 16).

For this reason, some members of the Senate have agreed to grant emergency powers to the President to cut red-tape and eliminate corruption in government agencies thereby speeding up the issuance of business permits and licenses for incoming investors without having to amend the Ease of Doing Business Law.

In an interview, Sotto said several senators are drafting a bill that will authorize the President to further shorten the days of transactions stated in the Ease of Doing Business Law and remove some of the requirements for applying permits and licenses in government agencies and local government units. 

These senators include Senators Franklin Drilon, Miguel Zubiri, Ralph Recto and Panfilo Lacson.

“In so many words, bibigyan ng authority si Presidente na baguhin ‘yung mga system itself. We can do that through a law without necessarily amending the Ease of Doing Business (Law),” Sotto said.

For his part, Zubiri said what they would propose is a blanket authority for the President. 

“A blanket authority as you may say across national government agencies and LGUs,” Zubiri, who sponsored the Ease of Doing Business Law, said.

“We will also reiterate the power of the president to suspend and remove erring officials involved in red tape instead of logging in it the longer process of the CSC and Ombudsman. So replacements and punishment can be done quicker,” he added.

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson said they will immediately present the final draft to the President and the Lower House once approved.

“When the final draft is approved by at least the majority of the senators in a caucus, Senate President Sotto will present the same to the chief executive as well as the leaders of the House of Representatives so we can pass the corresponding legislation,” Lacson said. 

Sotto assures the constitutionality of the proposed legislation. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PH state of calamity due to COVID-19 crisis extended for one year

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday extended the period of the state of calamity declared in the country due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under Proclamation No. 1021, which was signed on Sept. 16, Duterte extended the state of calamity declaration for one year, effective Sept. 13, 2020 to Sept. 12, 2021 “unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant.”

The president first declared the Philippines under a state of calamity on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but it already expired as it was only for a period of six months.

Duterte said the extension will effectively afford the national government, as well as local government units, ample latitude to continue utilizing appropriate funds, including Quick Response Funds, in their disaster preparedness and response efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

He added that it would also help in monitoring and controlling prices of basic necessities and prime commodities, and provide basic services to the affected populations.

The chief executive also enjoined government agencies and local government units to “continue rendering full assistance to and cooperation with each other and mobilize necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate disaster response aid and measures in a timely manner to curtail and eliminate the threat of COVID-19.”

Duterte also directed the military and other law enforcement agencies to “continue undertaking all necessary measures to ensure peace and order in affected areas, as may be necessary.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)


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