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Legarda: It’s Time for New Meet with Saudi Gov’t

June 30, 2011

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA TODAY SAID IT IS ABOUT TIME THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (DFA) INITIATE AND PURSUE THE CONVENING OF THE JOINT COMMISSION MEETING (JCM) WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA) TO DISCUSS VARIOUS MATTERS AFFECTING OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS (OFW).
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, filed Senate Resolution 443, which calls for the convening of the PHL-KSA JCM as it is necessary to address the concerns of OFWs in Saudi Arabia, including the recent issue on the suspension of the processing and verification of applications by Filipino domestic workers bound for KSA.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is host to over 1.5 million Filipinos. The recent note verbale issued by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which temporarily suspends the processing and verification of applications by Filipino domestic workers, have implications upon departing Filipino household workers bound for Saudi Arabia and those whose contracts are bound to expire in the coming months,” she explained.
The Philippines has been deploying Filipinos to the KSA since the 1970s. Remittances from Filipinos in Saudi Arabia reached US$1.5 billion in 2010 alone.
The Senator noted that the third and last Philippines-Saudi Arabia JCM was held in October 2008 and with many issues now affecting OFWs in KSA, a fourth JCM would be most appropriate today.
“The DFA should undertake efforts for the convening of the Philippines-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission to meet on a wide range of matters affecting overseas Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, including the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and other measures to expand technical cooperation between the two nations,” Legarda said.
“Our government should build on the results of the last JCM and, while addressing the concerns of overseas Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, ensure that our OFWs continue to work only in countries where their rights are protected,” Legarda concluded.