MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has announced that overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who were forced to return to the Philippines after they stopped receiving remuneration will be able to receive their unpaid salaries in December.
The DOLE said the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is expected to pay P4.6 billion in unpaid salaries to 9,000 OFWs.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, in a statement, said he is optimistic the payment will be made when KSA Labor Minister Ahmed al-Rajhi visits the country in December this year.
“So, the unpaid salaries of our OFWs can be settled just in time for Christmas,” the Labor chief said.
Bello was in KSA last week to attend the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, a forum for talks and cooperation between Asian Countries of labor origin and destination.
It aims to enable safe, orderly, and regular labor migration in some of the world’s largest temporary labor migration corridors.
There, Bello was invited by Al-Rajhi for a private meeting where the KSA labor executive appealed for the lifting of the suspension on Arab mega recruitment agencies.
These agencies were reportedly the ones who were responsible for the deployment of OFWs whose salaries and benefits remained unpaid.
Bello assured Al Rahji that the Philippines would lift the deployment ban in exchange for the payment of salaries of the OFWs.
Repatriated by the government in 2016, the unpaid OFWs, through the help of state lawyers, won the case over their unsettled pay in KSA.
Despite the legal victory, however, the KSA government refused to pay the OFWs.
“But our government is really thankful that the meeting with the KSA labor minister was fruitful,” Bello said. —/mbmf