Cash aid reaches over 3,000 stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia
Some 3,000 stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Saudi Arabia have already received their P20,000 cash assistance from the government, according to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
Data from the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in the Kingdom said those who already received the cash assistance as of Thursday, August 11, were 1,764 OFWs in Riyadh; 1,205 in Jeddah; and 379 in Al Khobar for a total of 3,348.
For this, the government shelled out P66,948,733.98, according to OWWA Administrator Rebecca Calzado on Friday.
Calzado said this does not include the P19,782,000.00 used for the cash assistance given to the OFWs who have already been repatriated and for the families of the stranded OFWs.
She said the OWWA Regional Welfare Offices has released cash to 510 repatriated OFWs at P20,000.00 per worker, and to 3,297 claimant-families of OFWs still in Saudi Arabia at P6,000.00 per family.
There is an estimated 9,000 to 11,000 OFWs currently stranded in Saudi Arabia following a massive layoff triggered by a slump in oil prices.
The cash assistance, or the Relief Assistance Program (RAP), was promised by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III during his visit to Saudi Arabia last month to check on the condition of the stranded Filipino workers.
Under the RAP, a cash assistance of P20,000 shall be extended to affected OFWs who are either staying in camps or live-out in Saudi Arabia, or have been repatriated to the Philippines but have not received their salaries or end-of-service benefits.
Families of affected OFWs who are still at jobsites shall also be granted P6,000 monetary assistance.
Qualified to avail of the RAP are affected OFWs employed by the following companies:
Mohammed al-Mojil Group (MMG);
Saudi Bin Laden Group of Companies (SBG);
Saudi Oger Ltd. (SOL);
Mohammad Hameed Al-Bargash & Bros. Trading & Construction;
Aluminum Company (ALUMCO L.L.C.);
Rajeh H. Al Merri Contracting Company;
Arabtec Construction L.L.C.;
Real Estate Development and Investment Company
The Duterte government has allocated a total of P500 million as cash assistance to the affected Filipino workers. —KBK, GMA News