Some 10,000 overseas Filipino workers who have been seeking unpaid wages in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will each receive P10,000 in financial aid, Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan Ople announced on Monday.
Ople said the financial package is a joint undertaking by the DMW and its attached agency, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“The DMW-Owwa and DSWD will provide P5,000 each for an estimated 10,000 workers-claimants, based on Owwa records,” said Ople in a statement, adding that the agencies will each allot P50 million to cover the financial grant.
“Owwa has sufficient funds for this humanitarian program, and we are ready to help the claimants as we have done in the past,” added Ople, saying the Owwa Board of Trustees approved the humanitarian package in a meeting on Monday.
The Owwa is set to issue the implementing guidelines for the release of the funds.
According to the DMW, some 10,000 overseas Filipino workers were displaced from Saudi Arabia in 2015 and 2016 when the kingdom was hit by a financial crisis, which forced construction companies to file for bankruptcy, resulting in the loss of jobs for thousands of Filipino workers.
The Philippine government repatriated the displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), while continuously negotiating for their unpaid claims with the Saudi government.
In November last year, the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pledged to give 2 billion Saudi riyals or P30.5 billion to settle the unpaid salaries of OFWs there.
Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman made the promise to President Marcos during bilateral talks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. INQ