RIYADH – Filipinos travelling to Saudi Arabia are urged to abide by the new regulations on public decency, which identified 19 offenses punishable by fines.
This comes after Saudi Arabia opened its e-visa program to travelers from 49 countries on September 27, 2019.
The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh said the Saudi police would monitor offenses and impose fines on violators. The offenses are related to public decency such as immodest dress, public display of affection and using profane language and gestures.
Violations also include littering, spitting, queue jumping, taking photographs and videos of people without permission and playing music at prayer times. Fines range from 50 riyals ($13) to 6,000 riyals ($1,600).
Consul General Patrick Aro appealed to Filipinos, particularly those engaged in vlogging, to abide by the laws.
“Siguraduhin niyo po na ang event na kinukunan ay may sapat na pahintulot mula sa gobyerno ng Saudi Arabia at kumpleto po ang papeles nila para ihold ang event na iyon para naman po hindi mabulilyaso ang event na ‘yun,” he said.
The Gulf country, which shares borders with Iraq to the north and Yemen to the south, boasts vast areas of desert and pristine beaches, lush mountains, and historical sites including five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Since ascending to power in 2017, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has relaxed several of Saudi Arabia's ultraconservative laws and reduced the influence of the religious police they called “Motawa.” The move is part of a gradual plan to open Saudi Arabia up to the rest of the world and reduce the economy's dependence on oil.