PH workers to be repatriated from Saudi

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THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday announced that at least 1,470 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) will be brought back to the country following their displacement by the lockout of their construction company employer.

The Labor department said that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) received a report that Azmeel Contracting Corporation in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, excluded its workers from their place of work after its assets were frozen by the Saudi government.

It added that the company also allegedly failed to pay its employees four months of their salaries, resulting in a protest.

Officials who flew on Monday to Al Khobar were Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, as well as those from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Department of Health (DOH) to help the OFWs.

The Labor secretary said that at least $50,000 financial assistance was already sent to the affected workers and noted that he will discuss with the Ministry of Labor of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia officials regarding the repatriation of OFWs and the payment of their back wages.

But Bello later clarified that the affected OFWs will each receive P20,000 in financial assistance.

“I will talk with the Minister of Labor of Saudi Arabia on the repatriation of our OFWs and the request for the Saudi government’s assistance to look for jobs elsewhere, as well as legal assistance to collect their monetary claims from their employer,” Bello said.

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