Saudi Arabia’s king Salman releases royal order to help stranded OFWs

admin   •   August 5, 2016   •   10134

IMAGE_AUG-05-2016_UNTV-NEWS_SAUDI_ROYAL-DECREE

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.

(EUGENE BARDOQUILLO)

Over 500K OFWs repatriated amid COVID-19 pandemic – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   April 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – More than half a million overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who were displaced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have been repatriated by the government, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.

Citing a report from Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) head Hans Leo Cacdac, DOLE said 502,581 Filipino repatriates have been safely transported back to their home provinces after undergoing COVID-19 tests and quarantine protocols in various hotels.

The latest batch of repatriates consisted of 1,471 OFWs who were sent home on Saturday, DOLE said.

Meanwhile, a separate report from DOLE’s International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) showed there are 645,071 OFWs affected by the pandemic.

Of this number, 627,576 were displaced by the public health crisis. Around 49,698 of them requested repatriation while 75,297 opted to stay on site.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III assured that the government continues to provide assistance to displaced and affected Filipino workers.

So far, DOLE’s Abot Kamay sa Pagtulong (AKAP) assistance program has extended P5.043 billion to 497,122 OFWs.

 

AKAP is one-time cash assistance of $200 or P10,000 for each qualified affected/displaced OFW.

Aside from AKAP, DOLE also provides financial aid, food and medical aid to COVID infected OFWs.

To date, it has extended a total of $1.93 million in cash assistance to 9,667 OFW COVID patients. Another $2.6 million in medical and food aid has been extended to 124,945 OFWs, DOLE said.

Villanueva calls for review of deployment protocols to curb OFW abuses

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — In order to curb cases of abused Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), Senator Joel Villanueva has proposed the review of protocols on the deployment of workers.

Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, urged the government to continue to engage host countries through bilateral agreements to ensure accountability on the welfare of OFWs. This is for host countries to be accountable for the welfare of OFWs.

“Our Minority Leader made a very clear point: ‘A source of law is culture and no form of bilateral agreement and Philippine domestic law can address that culture, like the Kafala,'” he said on Monday (March 8).

Under the kafala system, a practice observed in Gulf states, the immigration status of migrant workers is legally bound to an employer who acts as the sponsor. This requires workers to obtain consent from employers to enter and exit the country, and even transferring jobs.

The International Labor Organization described the system as the state’s “delegation of responsibility … to the private employer to oversee both a migrant worker’s immigration and employment status.”

Based on the data of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, it showed that 4,302 cases of maltreatment and mistreatment were recorded in the Middle East in 2020, while contract violations surged to 21,127 cases in the same region.

The Senator also emphasized the need to protect women, especially when most countries they are being deployed to are “patriarchal in nature”. Villanueva cited government data that showed at least 56 percent, or 1.2 million, of Filipinos eking out a living in foreign countries are women.

“It is important that though OFW issues should be genderless, a large part of the bill must place protections for our OFWs particularly our women because most countries they are deployed to are patriarchal by nature, and by culture,” he said. -AAC

Over 350k overseas Filipinos repatriated since Feb. 2020—DFA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Over 350,000 overseas Filipinos (OFs) have been repatriated since February 2020, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The DFA reported it has repatriated 4,549 OFs in the last week of January 2021, reaching a total of 356,126 OFs since the department began its repatriation program in February of last year.

Among the recently repatriated are undocumented OFs from Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Jordan and China. There were also three distressed OFs from Indonesia and one OF with a medical condition.

“Out of the total number we brought home this week, 692 were seafarers while 3,857 were land-based OFWs,” the DFA said.

The DFA also reiterated that it continues to coordinate with Philippine government agencies, airlines, and other private companies on the repatriation program for overseas Filipinos. AAC

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.