DoLE to repatriate distressed OFW

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Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Tuesday said almost all of about 1,400 Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia, whose wages were delayed, want to come home.

Bello said the salaries of the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) were delayed after the assets of their employer, Azmell Contracting Corp., were frozen.

“Almost 95 percent of them want to go back home. We will bring all of them back,” said Bello in a radio interview.

He said the unpaid Pinoy workers were in various areas of Saudi Arabia, including Dammam, Al Khobar, Jubail and Jeddah.

Bello said representatives of the company promised to settle the unpaid wages and shoulder the plane fare of their workers back to the Philippines.

“The company promised us that they will refund whatever the government would advance to their workers,” Bello said.

According to Bello, the policy of hiring locals or “Saudization” is making a significant impact on the employment of OFW in Saudi Arabia. He noted that at present there are fewer Filipinas working as salesladies in Saudi malls.

Bello cited a report which predicted a 20 to 30 percent drop in OFW hiring in Saudi as a result of the new labor policy in the kingdom.

Recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani said the decline in OFW deployment to Saudi may not be as drastic but acknowledged it could fall by about 10 percent this year.

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