Government mulls ban on OFW deployment to Saudi

The Philippine government is considering suspending the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Saudi Arabia to press for the repatriation of two OFWs hired by a former general as domestic helpers.

Rolly Francia, director of the Department of Labor and Employment Information and Public Service, said the Philippine Overseas Labor Office recommended to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello to suspend the deployment of OFWs to Saudi Arabia if the domestic helpers are not turned over to the POLO by Sept. 30.

“Secretary Bello is still weighing the options. He is asking foreign and local recruitment agencies to work together for the safe return of the OFWs. Hopefully, hindi na umabot ang decision sa deployment ban,” Francia said at a press briefing yesterday.

“If we suspend the deployment of OFWs to Saudi Arabia, maraming maapektuhan,” he added.

Francia said different government agencies are helping the POLO in negotiating with former general Saudi Ayed Al Jeaid for the turnover of the domestic helpers.

Al Jeaid reportedly employed 16 OFWs, who accused him of treating housemaids as slaves.

Of the 16 OFWs, Francia said only two have remained under the employ of the former Saudi general.

Francia said five of the OFWs have agreed to settle the case against Al Jeaid in exchange for their repatriation.

Francia said the OFWs may still pursue a legal case against their recruiters despite the settlement of the case in Saudi Arabia.

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