According to Vice President Jejomar Binay, 82 (OFWs) overseas Filipino workers who were stranded in Saudi Arabia can finally get home in Manila by October.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is also presidential adviser on OFW concerns, stated that the Philippine labor attache in Riyadh has secured a commitment from the OFWs’ employer Al Swayeh Co.
Through Binay’s Official Facebook page, he posted that, “Mr. Abdulrahman al Rajhi, the owner of the Al Swayeh Company, has promised Saudi Assistant Minister of Labor Hamad al Hodaithi that he will grant exit clearances to all the OFWs by next month.”
The marooned OFWs are staying at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Riyadh.
Binay added that the OFWs have completed their respective contracts. Of the 82, 10 are waiting for their exit visas.
The vice president said, “Our officials in POLO-Riyadh were informed that the company will work out the issuance of the exit visas of the OFWs as long as the workers can present a confirmed flight booking to the Philippines.”
According to reports, the OFWs had accused Al Swayeh of alleged labor violations ranging from unpaid wages to alleged maltreatment and abuse.
Referring to data from the POLO in Riyadh, Binay stated that the OFWs’ despairs began in 2007 when al Rajhi bought the construction firm where they worked.
Aside from Filipinos, Al Swayeh also employed more than 2,000 workers from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Egypt.
The Saudi Ministry of Labor said Al Swayeh could no longer shoulder the cost of OFWs’ plane tickets because it prioritized the payment of the workers’ unpaid salary and end-of-service benefits.
For the meantime, Binay said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has instructed the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) to coordinate with the workers’ recruitment agencies to provide tickets to their deployed workers.
Baldoz also ordered coordination with OWWA to provide the plane tickets for the workers whose agencies have closed.