Thursday, August 4, 2016

Some stranded OFWs in Jeddah excluded from list of cash aid recipients

Some retrenched Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia whose former employers were not included on the list prepared by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are also appealing for financial assistance from the government.
A number of OFWs from RIO Trading and Contracting Company went to the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah on Tuesday to claim the financial assistance promised by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, only to be told that they were not entitled to it as their former employers were not on the OWWA list.
"Sabi ni Secretary [Bello] lahat ng OFW bibigyan ng assistance, tapos malalaman-laman namin hindi pala lahat at meron silang pinipli," one exasperated OFW said.
The cash aid was promised by Bello when he went to Saudi Arabia last month to  check on the condition of Filipino workers who were retrenched from Saudi Oger and Saudi bin Laden Group of Companies due to the drastic plunge in oil prices.
Oger and Bin Laden were two of nine companies on the OWWA list. The others are:
  • Mohammed al-Mojil Group
  • Mohammad Hameed Al-Bargash & Bros. Trading & Construction Co.
  • Alumco LLC
  • Rajeh H. Al Merri Contracting & Trading Co.
  • Fawzi Salah Al Nairani Contracting Co.
  • Arabtec Construction LLC
  • Real Estate Development & Investment Co.
According to OWWA, Filipino workers who were retrenched from these companies may claim P26,000 at the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah.
OWWA Welare Officer Angel Cruz, meanwhile, asked for patience from OFWs who have yet to receive their financial assistance, saying they are in the process of updating their list.
Cruz also denied that Bello is being kept in the dark regarding the situation of the affected OFWs, many of them staying in makeshift "camps" for months as they wait for their backpays, in Saudi Arabia.
"Halos weekly po ay nagbibigay ng report si Labat Rasul sa Manila. Maging si Labat Resty pero hindi na po naming nalaman kung saan napunta ang report at hindi ito nalaman nang ating kalihim sa paggawa," Cruz said.
He reminded Filipino workers claiming financial aid to only request for application forms with signatures from legitimate OWWA employees. —Ronaldo Concha/RT/KBK, GMA News

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