Chartered flights for OFWs stranded in Saudi eyed – DOLE
The Department of Labor and Employment is planning to charter several flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to repatriate the remaining more than 2,000 Filipino workers still stranded there.
Labor undersecretary aid the chartered flights will be carried out within the one-month extension of the amnesty period for undocumented foreigners in Saudi Arabia.
“I will be negotiating with the Philippine Airlines on booking chartered flights for the more than 2,000 overseas Filipino workers,” Say said on Monday.
It may be recalled that the DOLE has already repatriated 5,576 OFWs who availed the Saudi Arabian government’s amnesty program for undocumented foreigners.
The 90-day amnesty program began in April and expired last Thursday, June 29. Over the weekend, the Saudi Arabian government announced a month-long extension of the program.
However, there are 2,241 OFWs who availed the amnesty program but are still waiting for their plane tickets.
Say said they cannot rely on commercial flights to bring back the remaining OFWS in just one month.
“How can you fit more than 2,000 in commercial flights within 30 days? If we can’t fly them out within 30 days there might be unexpected ramifications,” he pointed out.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will shoulder the payment for the chartered flights, as the DOLE is eyeing at least five chartered flights.
Meanwhile, Say said the more than 5,000 OFWs who came home to the country can freely return to Saudi Arabia if they so wish.
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