Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Some retrenched OFWs in Saudi Arabia becoming suicidal –officials

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has received reports that some retrenched OFWs who are still in Saudi Arabia have tried to commit suicide out of frustration, a television report said Tuesday.
"Mayroon pong naglaslas ng leeg, naglaslas ng pulso," DSWD Undersecretary Vilma Cabrera told lawmakers during a dialogue, as reported by GMA News' Tina Panganiban-Perez in "24 Oras."
"Mayroon pong nagbigti na isang welder na empleyado ng isa sa mga kumpanyang nagsara dahil hindi na makapagtapos ang kanyang anak at sa sobrang frustrations," said ACTS-OFW party-list Rep. John Bertiz.
During Tuesday's forum at the House of Representatives, wives of retrenched OFWs in Saudi Arabia pleaded with the government to help their husbands who, despite being jobless and penniless, are still staying at their company's work camps.
Edna Medina, for one, asked for financial assistance for their husbands as they wait to claim their end-of-service benefits and backpay from their former employers.
"Kagaya po nung husband ko, wala po siyang SIM card. Wala po siyang load. Alam niyo 'yung pakiramdam na hindi maka-[contact] sa amin, walang pera, high blood, hindi makainom ng gamot," she said.
She added that her husband has yet to receive the financial assistance promised by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to OFWs affected by the massive layoff in Saudi Arabia triggered by a slump in oil prices.
"Tiklop-tuhod po akong humihingi ng tulong na mabigyan sila kasi po sa ngayon, wala pa pong taga-OWWA na pumupunta sa kanila," Medina said.
Help underway
OWWA doled out P58,662,697.95 to 3,980 OFWs and their families in July through cash grants of P20,000 for OFWs and P6,000 for their families in the Philippines.
The relief assistance fund (RAF) was limited to employees under eight Saudi construction companies and has been previously criticized for supposedly failing to include OFWs in other companies that were also hit by the oil crisis.
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) also confirmed that it has stopped deploying OFWs to Saudi Arabia.
"Hininto na po natin. Matagal na po. Hininto na natin na yung recruitment," POEA Administrator Hans Cacdac said. Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

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