DOLE: 10,233 distressed OFWs in KSA assisted; 2,191 repatriated
A total of 2,191 of the over 10,000 distressed OFWs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been repatriated as of October 2016, and almost half a billion pesos in emergency assistance paid out to the workers and their families, the Labor Department said Sunday.
In a news release, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III also clarified that the 2,191 OFWs were those who opted to return home under the government's repatriation program.
The rest of the distressed Pinoys have opted to remain to find other employments, while some others have stayed while their labor claims are being processed.
Over 10,000 Filipino expatriates have been affected by the slump in oil prices and production cuts by the oil-producing countries in the Middle East, the DOLE said.
Also, Bello said that a total of P455.1 million in emergency assistance have been given to 10,233 distressed OFWs in the kingdom.
“Our Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in Riyadh, Al Khobar, and Jeddah continue to intensify their efforts in disseminating information on the voluntary repatriation program and in conducting negotiations with employers,” Bello added.
The program is under the “Bring Them Home Mission” of the Department which started last August.
Particularly, those repatriated were employees of Mohammad Al Mojil Group of Companies, Saudi Oger Ltd., Saudi Binladin Group, Rakan Trading and Arabtech. These are among the nine companies that laid off workers after being affected by the oil price slump.
Bello said that of the 2,191 OFWs repatriated, 1,037 came from Riyadh; 743 from Jeddah; and 411 from Al Khobar.
Each repatriate was given P26,000 under OWWA’s Expanded Relief Assistance Program (RAP).
As of 21 October, 10,233 displaced OFWs were provided with P20,000, or 1,590 riyals for onsite RAP disbursement.
About 7,430 repatriated OFWs and 10,516 families of OFWs who are still at the jobsites were provided with P6,000 under local RAP disbursement.
Bello added that OFW repatriates were also provided with airport assistance, transportation assistance, and temporary accommodation at the OWWA Halfway Home before proceeding to their respective provinces.
According to Bello, the “Bring Them Home Mission” is a convergence program among government agencies composed of the Department of Foreign Affairs, DOLE, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Department of Health, including the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah. —LBG, GMA News