Pangasinan Health Worker First Filipina to Drive in Saudi Arabia

An overseas Filipino worker from Dagupan City became the first Filipina to legally drive in Saudi Arabia after the Kingdom allowed women to drive, according to The Filipino Times.

Graynne Angel Panitan, who works as a medical admin coordinator in Riyadh, is among thousands of women in Saudi Arabia who benefited from the ruling which was enacted on June 24.

A video taken by her husband while she was driving around the streets of Riyadh made the rounds online.

“Katuwaan lang po namin ng asawa ko. Kinuhaan niya ako ng video habang nagmamaneho kasi nga po nakuha ko na ang lisensya ko,” Panitan said.

She said her possession of a valid Philippine driver’s license accelerated the process of obtaining license to drive in the Gulf state.

Panitan said that her valid Philippine driver’s license helped her to easily go through the process and requirements in Saudi. “Para po sa status ko, meron po kasi akong valid Philippine driver’s license. Sa ganito po, mas madali ang proseso dahil drive test na lang po ang exam after mo ma-secure lahat ng requirements,” she said.

Since the ban on female driving has been lifted, Panitan hopes more Filipina workers in the country will be able to get their own driver’s license as well. Panitan urged female OFWs in Saudi Arabia should free themselves from constraints of requiring a male driver to travel. That way, she said, women can now join the workforce and explore the kingdom.

“Malaking tulong at kaginhawaan po ito para sa mga kababaihan. Hindi na po nila kailangan pang umasa sa kanilang mga asawa, ama, kapatid, drivers, o kaya sumakay pa sa mga taxi para sa kanilang mga lakad,” she said.

“Malaking pasasalamat po naming mga kababaihan sa aming Hari na si King Salman na pinayagan na po nila kami na makapagmaneho dito sa Saudi Arabia,” the Filipina said, thanking His Royal Highness King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

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