RIYADH, KSA — Through a royal decree, Saudi Arabia’s king Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has ordered immediate attention to the problems being faced by thousands of Filipino workers in the country.
According to Philippine Embassy Officer-in-Charge Iric Arribas, measures have been discussed during their meeting with representatives of the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development. Aside from repatriation, the Saudi government has vowed to assist the affected Filipinos by administering their transfer of employment to other companies in the country that offer job vacancies.
“We went to the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development last week. I was with Labor Under Secretary Ciriaco Lagunzad, POEA Administrator Hans Cacdac and our Labor attache here, Rustico dela Fuente,” Arribas said.
“They [Saudi representatives] brought us good news that King Salman has issued a royal decree saying, those with expired iqamas and the penalties incurred will be waived. The will also help in facilitating the transfer of sponsorship,” he added.
For now, negotiations are being held to clarify the details of implementation of the said royal decree.
According to Arribas, for now, only big companies like Saudi Oger and Saudi Bin Laden group are among those mentioned in their dialogue with the Saudi ministry of labor.
Nevertheless, they will not set aside the situations of other Filipinos who also have concerns against their respective companies.
He appeals for patience and understanding from our compatriots because they also need to act in accordance with the saudi government.
“As of now, those who are not included in the [mentioned] groups of Filipinos. The assistance for them will be processed next time. But for now, the program of negotiation is only for the OFWs stranded in big construction companies.”
Next week, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is set to return to Saudi Arabia to personally attend to the developments of the negotiations.