Duterte brings home 138 stranded OFWs from Saudi Arabia
As President Rodrigo Duterte arrived on April 17, 2017 (Monday), he also brought home 138 stranded OFWs from Saudi Arabia as he promised.
These OFWs were allowed to go back to the Philippines after Duterte negotiated with the Saudi government during his week-long trip in the Middle East.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello reported that around 4,000 OFWs applied to leave Saudi under the Saudi amnesty program which allows undocumented foreigners up until 90 days to leave Saudi without the risk of detention.
Duterte promised to use government funds to help OFWs come home.
"We have an ongoing program for the repatriation of our distressed nationals. Pinapangako ko 'yan sa inyo. Gagawa 'yan natin araw-araw [I promise you this. We will do it every day]," Duterte said.
He released a total of Php 10,000 to the OFWs where half of it came from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the other half from Duterte’s office.
"They should be attended to immediately. Pilipino eh (They're Filipinos). At one time or another during their productive years in their life, they helped us very much," he added.
One of the OFWs detailed her hardships in Saudi where she was underpaid even as she worked 17-hour shifts.
"Hindi pagbibigay ng maayos na sahod tapos 17 hours ako nagtatrabaho. Yung ano ko, overtime ko hindi po niya binayaran tapos kinakaltasan pa ako buwan buwan ng 35 riyal," Rassel Faldas said.
Other OFWs narrated their struggles in Saudi. One of the workers shared how her employers refused to give back her passport because they did not want her child to go home with her.
"Passport ko po wala sa akin. Tapos, walang wala po. Lahat po kaya pinursigi nalang magtrabaho, nagantay po ng ganitong pagkakataon po para makauwi kami ng anak ko. Kasi sobrang hirap makauwi lalo na may anak, hindi po nila ipapadala yung bata. Kaya nagtrabaho nalang po ako," Nursiya Atan said.
While many more OFWs yearn to go home, repatriation negotiations are difficult for those who still have to face criminal charges.
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Duterte brings home 138 stranded OFWs from Saudi Arabia Reviewed by Newsinfo Learn on April 18, 2017 Rating: