Embassy Row News
By EDD K. USMAN | @edd1819 | @bluestar0910 | SDN — Science and Digital News
Short link: https://wp.me/paaccn-iVf
(SDN) — The Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated US$1.7 million in cash and $1.5 million worth of medical equipment and supplies to the Philippines, for a total of $3.2 million.
Saudi leader the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Al-Saud ordered the delivery of the humanitarian assistance to the Philippines to help in its efforts to provide relief to embattled Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, as well as augment the nationwide battle against the coronavirus pandemic that broke out in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in 2019. The pandemic then engulfed the world, infecting and killing millions of people until now.
The donation is from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSHARC) in Riyadh, the Kingdom’s capital.
Saudi Ambassador to the Philippines His Excellency Hisham bin Sultan Al-Qahtani and KSHARC representative Dr. Abdullah bin Saleh Al-Moallem turned over on Thursday, May 19, 2022, the donation to the Philippine government in a ceremony at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) along Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Metro Manila.
In an embassy statement reaching SDN — Science and Digital News, it was learned the $3.2 million aid is “part of the Kingdom’s initiative to support relief in the city of Marawi and combat the pandemic in all regions of the Republic of the Philippines, and as part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian and relief efforts to assist countries in dealing with humanitarian crises and natural disasters (Hurricane Ray Odette), that have recently struck the Philippines.”
Meanwhile, the medical and preventive equipment and supplies worth $1.7 million arrived recently as in-kind support to combat the pandemic Covid-19, which is caused by SARS-CoV-2.
The Kingdom’s contribution worth $1.5 million to the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) was intended to support health facilities in the city of Marawi.
DOH Undersecretary Dr. Leopoldo J. Vega received the donation on behalf of the Philippine government in the presence of Foreign Affairs Acting Secretary Lourdes O. Yparagueirre; Alfonso A. Ver, foreign affairs assistant secretary, Office of the Middle East and African Affairs (OMEAA); Dr. Joel H. Buenaventura, division chief, Bureau of International Health Cooperation; and Dr. Shalimar S. Rakiin, director of the Amai Pakbak Medical Center (APMC), Marawi City.
Some DFA and DOH officials were also present to witness the turnover ceremony.
Kingdom is host to a million-strong Filipino community
Al-Qahtani cited the reason from which came the directive of the Custodian of tnhe Two Holy Mosques in relation with the donation to the Philippines.
“The royal directive stems from the Kingdom’s humanitarian and pioneering role towards the international community in all parts of the world, and the Kingdom’s recognition of the importance of this influential role in alleviating human suffering and enabling people to live decent lives, as well as the Kingdom’s continued assistance to the needy all over the world,” al-Qahtani emphasized.
More than five million Filipinos are working abroad because of employment difficulties in the country.
More than a million overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) work in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member-countries, such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.
Saudi Arabia alone has more or less one million OFWs, both skilled and unskilled (in construction, department stores, hotel industry, and those working for Saudi families like domestic helpers, drivers, gardeners, etc.)
Skilled OFWs are in hospitals as doctors, nurses; oil industry, technology companies, construction engineers, among other fields.
The Kingdom has consistently topped the list of Filipinos leaving the country for employment.
Saudi Arabia and the Philippines established their formal diplomatic relations on October 24, 1969. (✓)