Some 521 distressed and displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have returned home and now ready to enjoy the holiday season with their respective families, the labor department reported.
The batch of repatriates were composed of 174 OFWs who were denied of salaries for four months and displaced by the lock-out of their employer, Azmeel Contracting Corporation.
The other 347 repatriates comprise the distressed household service workers rescued by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh and Alkhobar.
“What we wanted is for our distressed and displaced OFWs to return home and provide them sustained and comprehensive assistance. We want them to join their families this coming holiday season instead of suffering overseas,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
All of the OFW repatriates received immediate assistance from Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) including airport assistance, psycho-social counseling, stress debriefing and medical referral.
Aside from the immediate assistance, they were also oriented with the comprehensive reintegration program, including the provision of livelihood assistance, local and overseas employment referral, and legal and conciliation services.
The labor secretary also assured them of sustained assistance in claiming their unpaid wages and other monetary claims from their employers, particularly for the displaced workers of Azmeel.
“Rest assured that DOLE will continue to monitor and follow-up the unpaid salaries and other money claims, specifically for the displaced workers of Azmeel. Sustained assistance will also be provided to the OFW repatriates to assist them in finding alternative employment or in engaging them in chosen livelihood undertakings,” Bello said.