Church advises gay Filipinos to stay away from Saudi Arabia

Ang Ladlad campaigners

Ang Ladlad campaigners

An official of the  Filipino Catholic Bishops’ Conference has advised Filipino homosexuals to look for jobs in places other than Saudi Arabia in light of new restrictions announced by Riyadh. Father Edwin Corros, executive secretary of the bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant people (ECMI) said: “It’s much better if they don’t go there. They should look for another country where there is no discrimination,” Gay workers will be exposed to exploitation resulting in headaches for themselves and their recruiters,  he told Radio Veritas 846.

On 26 May, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Manila issued a memorandum ordering local recruitment agencies to screen applicants for sexual orientation. “Officials of recruitment agencies… are strongly advised to screen (applicants) thoroughly. The accreditation of recruitment agencies found to have failed to observe this advisory will be permanently terminated,” the memorandum read.

Gay group Ang Ladlad and overseas workers rights group Migrante International described the new rules as discriminatory. “We are shocked and saddened at this new policy,” said Bemz Benedicto of Ang Ladlad. “This impacts on the lives of the overseas Filipino workers and curtails their right to earn a living,” he said.

But Fr Corros said he understood  the decision of the Saudi government which was based on their religious beliefs. “We respect that,” he said.

Last year, 67 Filipinos were arrested in Riyadh for dressing up in women’s clothes and holding a gay pageant. They were forced to resign from work and deported.

Labour Secretary Marianito Roque said the solution is simple: Homosexual Filipinos should respect the culture and beliefs of the Saudis and act accordingly.

Source: UCAN

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