President Duterte Welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Labor Reform Initiative

In light of the many changes that are currently being made in Saudi Arabia, Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte welcomes the Kingdom’s Labor Reform Initiative (LRI).

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Through an official statement issued via the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) on Monday, 23 November 2020, the President referred to the LRI as a major labor reform program that would greatly benefit the almost 800,000 Filipinos who are working in Saudi Arabia.

President Duterte Welcomes Saudi Arabia's Labor Reform Initiative
Image: @pcoogov / Facebook

Initiative will Benefit Filipino Migrant Workers – Duterte

According to the statement, President Duterte is looking forward to the implementation of the LRI early next year, and extends his congratulations to His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, for this breakthrough initiative.

Notably, the President views the initiative as a huge step towards addressing concerns related to the traditional sponsorship system followed in most parts of the Middle East region.

Among other changes, the LRI will enable migrant workers in Saudi Arabia to:

  • Travel outside the Kingdom without their employer’s approval;
  • Leave Saudi Arabia without their employer’s consent upon contract expiration; and
  • Transfer to another employer without the current employer’s consent upon contract expiration.

In the statement, President Duterte also renewed his commitment to strengthening cooperation between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. It can be recalled that during his State Visit to the Kingdom in 2017, in a meeting with His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the President discussed the promotion of the rights and welfare of Filipinos in the Kingdom.

Below is the full text of President Duterte’s statement on the launching of Saudi Arabia’s LRI, as shared by Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines) on Facebook:

President Duterte Welcomes Saudi Arabia's Labor Reform Initiative
Image: @pcoogov / Facebook

It is encouraging to see country leaders such as President Duterte and His Majesty King Salman express their commitment and dedication towards improving the rights and welfare of migrant workers. Not only will this strengthen the relationship between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia, but also benefit the citizens and economies of both countries in the long run.

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