DOLE to complete repatriation of all OFW COVID dead from Saudi Arabia next week

Marje Pelayo   •   July 22, 2020   •   679

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is set to bring home on July 28 the third batch of the remains of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who died in Saudi Arabia.

So far, the government has brought home a total of 137 OFWs who succumbed to coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) and other causes.

Based on the figures provided by DOLE overseas offices and the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, the last batch includes a total of 57 OFW remains who all died of COVID-19: 30 bodies from Jeddah; 20 bodies from Riyadh; and seven from Al Khobar.

“We will accord our fallen modern-day heroes the same grand welcome and memorial ceremonies due them upon their arrival,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said. 

The bodies will be flown via chartered cargo flight of the Philippine Airlines.

Bello assured that the homecoming of the remains will follow strict health protocols similar to the two previous batches of repatriation where COVID-19 victims were brought directly to crematoriums upon arrival.

“Our government shares the grief of the bereaved families of our dear OFWs. But we continue to seek their understanding to strictly adhere to the protocols for their own good and that of our communities,” he concluded.

DOTr, DOLE to provide jobs to repatriated OFWs affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr), along with other government agencies, has signed a memorandum that would provide job opportunities for repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

During the 2021 Migrant Workers’ Day celebration on Monday (June 7), DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide OFWs displaced by the pandemic with employment opportunities in the DOTr.

“Our repatriated OFWs who are out of work will be able to work under the DOTr at narito sila sa sarili nilang bansa. They no longer need to go out of the country because work is here at home. Second, we will not be looking elsewhere in getting the needed workforce to finish various infrastructure projects,” he said.

Under the said agreement, the DOTr will provide OWWA with a list of vacant positions and skills required where an OFW can apply for work. These include projects under the Build Build Build Program.

Tugade reported that 2,000 jobs will be made available under the PNR Clark Phase 1 Project.

He also said that the department will not only prioritize hiring OFWs, but also displaced public utility drivers and conductors once the project becomes operational. AAC

POEA ordered to temporarily suspend deployment of OFWs to Saudi Arabia

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to temporarily suspend the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the  Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

The department released a memorandum stating it received reports that the departing OFWs are being required by employers or foreign recruitment agencies to shoulder the cost of the health and safety protocols related to COVID-19.

OFWs are also being made to shoulder the cost of the insurance coverage premium upon their entry to KSA.

DOLE has ordered the temporarily suspension which will be effective immediately until further notice.

Meanwhile, the department will issue an official statement on the resumption of deployment to the KSA once the issue has been clarified. AAC

 

Deployment of OFWs to Israel temporarily suspended — Bello

Marje Pelayo   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has announced that the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Israel is temporarily suspended due to the ongoing violence between Israeli forces and the Hamas militant group.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the safety of Filipinos is the government’s utmost concern at this time.

Most of the OFWs working in the Jewish country are caregivers and hotel workers.

Given the situation, Bello urges the Filipinos bound for Israel to wait until the tension subsides.

“Medyo maghintay-hintay lang po tayo dahil sa hindi magandang kondisyon sa Israel na patutunguhan natin ay meron muna tayong precautionary suspension ng deployment doon,” he said.

The official said quick response teams are on standby to rescue Filipinos who will be caught in the violence.

So far, there are no Filipinos injured or killed in the conflict, Bello confirmed.

However, Bello noted that while the Philippine government is ready should there be calls for repatriation, some OFWs opt to stay despite the dangers.

“Kasi yung mga iba nilipat na sa Egypt. Iyong safer place nilipat sila. libo-libo na yan nasa shelter lahat yan. We are ready to repatriate them merong rapid response team,” he added.

Alert Level 1 is still raised in Israel while Level 2 is raised in the Gaza Strip.

Mandatory repatriation will be triggered when the alert levels are elevated to 3 and 4.MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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