Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January 28, 2009

OFWs safe from possible 2010 layoffs in Saudi Arabia
01/28/2009 02:52 PM
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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Despite talks that Saudi Arabia might lay off foreign workers in 2010, a Saudi business leader says Filipinos are still among the first choice of companies in the kingdom.Mustafa Sabri, secretary-general of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), gave this assurance in a meeting this week in Jeddah with House Speaker Prospero Nograles, who led a delegation of legislators and businessmen to the Saudi Arabian city.

Sabri told the delegates that Saudi firms might lay off some workers in the Eastern Province in the next few years but added that Filipino workers would be sure to adapt to these changes.

He also reportedly said that as of now no expatriates would be laid off despite the financial crunch since most of their projects were continuing – which he attributed to Saudi Arabia’s banking sector and "strong" financial institutions.Sabri told Nograles that Saudi employers were generally very happy with the attitudes of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), specifically of their loyalty, patience, endurance, social skills, and English-speaking skills – all of which give them advantage over other foreign workers.Saudi businessmen supposedly value Filipino workers such that if ever there would be layoffs OFWs would be the last to go.

But Nograles said OFWs should not be smug but instead continue to work harder so that they would be able to keep their jobs."Hindi panahon ng tamad-tamaran ngayon kasi ‘pag magtanggalan ang unang matatanggal ay ‘yung mga nakikitang walang performance [It’s not the time to be lazy because those who do not perform get fired]," he said.

The Philippine delegation was in Saudi Arabia to invite businessmen to invest and start businesses in Mindanao.Among those with the delegation were Sultan Yahyah Jerry Tomawis, administrator of the Southern Philippine Development Authority; Deputy House Speaker Simeon A. Datumanong; Harry Angping, special envoy for tourism and investment; and Reps. Nur G. Jaafar, Munir M. Arbison, Mujiv S. Hataman, and Yusop H. Jikiri.

Also with the delegation were Energy Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan, director general Rodolfo V. Vicerra of the Congressional Planning and Budget Department, executive director Jericho Jonas Nograles of the House of the Representatives, Philippine Saudi Business Council chairperson Maria Luisa Romero, investor Jacob Van Der Skuis, businessman Alberto C. Nograles, and consultant Morgan Kisselburg.

The delegation was accompanied by Antonio Villamor, Philippine ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Ezzedin Tago, Philippine consul general in Jeddah; and Mohammad Ameen Wali, Saudi ambassdor to the Philippines. - Ronaldo Concha and Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV

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