Duterte on stranded OFWs: 'They should be brought home immediately'
President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to bring home "immediately" the thousands of OFWs who have been stranded in Saudi Arabia for months after they were retrenched from their jobs.
"Kaya ako, I'll send somebody. They should be brought home immediately. If there is nobody to pay for them, bring them home," he said Tuesday evening before members of the Parish Pastoral Council on Responsible Voting (PPRCV).
Cost-cutting measures by construction companies in Saudi Arabia as a result of the drastic drop in oil prices have resulted in the retrenchment of some 11,000 OFWs, many of whom have been staying there for months waiting for their back pay.
Following his visit, he approved the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s Board Resolution No. 06 Series of 2016 allocating P500 million in emergency assistance to the distressed OFWs.
"The cash relief assistance will consist of P 20,000 per affected worker, and another P 6,000 cash assistance per family," Bello said during a recent meeting of OWWA Board of Trustees.
Bello, who is the chairperson of the OWWA Board of Trustees, hopes that the financial support will somehow ease the suffering of OFWs heavily affected by the economic crisis in the Middle East due to the oil price slump.
Duterte, on Tuesday, also pointed out the alleged abuses of some Arab employers to their Filipino workers.
The President also tasked Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay to address reports of Filipinos who can't return home because they employers have their passports.
"Iyong iba 'yung kinukuha nila 'yung passport and it is not returned to them. Well, I don't know. So, sabi ko doon kay Yasay, puntahan mo ‘yan doon tapos bigyan mo ng travel document," Duterte said.
The President further expressed his concern for OFWs in Saudi Arabia who were abused by their employers.
"May sentimiyento ako sa mga Arabo eh. Kasi, well, you can just imagine na totoo 'yang abuses, sexual or other lahat iyan. Pati 'yung walang sweldo tapos isang beses silang pakainin parang hindi naman tao itong mga ito," he said. —KBK, GMA News