Displaced Saudi OFWS urged to avail repatriation program
CEBU - Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello urged displaced overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia to avail of the government's repatriation program so they can return home sooner.
“Pinapakiusapan ko sila na mag-avail ng repatriation para makauwi na sa Pilipinas. Mahirap ang kalagayan nila dito sa Saudi Arabia,” said Bello, who heads a 40-man Philippine Special Mission to Saudi Arabia.
According to Bello, the goal is to repatriate the first batch of 2,000 OFWS between August 20 and the first week of September. He said there are OFWS who are hesitant to come home because they want to ensure that they will be paid their back wages and other monetary claims.
However, Bello said that he and the other government officials included in the mission are convincing the OFWS to execute Special Power of Attorney which shall authorize Philippine representatives to follow up their unpaid claims to their former employers.
Bello said the only reason that the OFWS will be allowed to extend their stay in Saudi Arabia is if they have managed to secure another job.
“Of course, if some were able to get new employment, we will not blame them if they insist on staying. Choice nila iyon na makapagtrabaho muli,” Bello said.
He also assured OFWS, who availed of the voluntary repatriation program, that the Department of Labor and Employment will provide them a package of comprehensive reintegration assistance and services under its Assist WELL Program.
The program ensures that returning OFWS who voluntarily sign up for repatriation, or those who are compelled to go home under mandatory repatriation due to crises or emergency situations, are successfully reintegrated in the mainstream of Philippine society.