Over 100 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) recently rescued and repatriated from distressed employment situations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) are being offered employment assistance by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac gave a statement on Saturday, December 22, urging the 110 repatriated OFWs to submit their bio data to OWWA so that the agency can find them employment in government programs and projects such as the Build, Build, Build initiative of the Duterte Administration. According to Cacdac, most of the distressed migrant workers were employed in the infrastructure sector.
OWWA has so far provided airport assistance to the workers to allow them to return to the Philippines. Temporary shelter was also given to those awaiting their flights back to their respective provinces. Workers hailing from Luzon were given transportation assistance to return home.
The Distressed OFWs were also given a package of assistance, which included a P20,000 financial aid sum to help in the OFWs reintegration to the Philippines.
However, the aid extended by OWWA is to continue until the workers find gainful employment again.
“We will provide employment facilitation. Our President spearheads the Build, Build, Build program. The DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) and various contractors are looking for supplementary manpower which are fit to your skills,” said Cacdac on Saturday.
Cacdac said that OWWA, by providing these benefits and aid to the repatriated workers, is acting on the directives of Labor Secretary Silvertre Bello III. Cacdac also expressed hope that the measures taken by the agency wold help the workers, who arrived in the country on December 8 from Dammam, KSA, cope with the daily expenditures of reintegration, especially as they’ve lost their livelihoods with their return.
Should the OFWs choose to stay in the country for good, OWWA will provide them the opportunity to receive livelihood assistance as well.
“Our repatriated OFWs also have the opportunity to apply for a livelihood assistance. A seminar will be arranged for them and they will be required to submit their respective business plans. We will teach them how to do it,” Cacdac said.
Of the 110 workers, 88 were employed by the Azmeel Company in Al Khobar, KSA. The workers were affected by a lockdown of their company’s work sites and reportedly failed to receive their promised and proper wages and overtime pay.
22 OFWs decided to come home because of contract violations by their KSA employers. Of these, 18 were employed by Rakan Trading Contracting Comapny and 4 by Samama Company.
Both OWWA and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) have said that their agencies are ready to provide legal assistance to Filipino workers who wish to file complaints against their overseas employers or recruitment agencies.