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82 OFWs stranded in Saudi Arabia to come home next month – Binay

/ 05:56 PM September 26, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – As many as 82 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) currently stranded in Saudi Arabia would be back home by October, Vice President Jejomar Binay announced Wednesday.

In a statement, Binay, also the presidential adviser on OFW concerns, noted that Al Swayeh Company, a construction company which had been the subject of complaints from the OFWs, had committed to grant their exit clearances.

“Mr. Abdulrahman al Rajhi, the owner of Al Swayeh Company, has promised Saudi Assistant Minister of Labor Hamad al Hodaithi that he will grant exit clearances to


to all the OFWs by next month,” Binay said in a statement.

He noted that the OFWs were staying at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) shelter house of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) in Riyadh.

“The OFWs refused to renew their contracts with Al Swayeh due to various labor violations, including unpaid wages, alleged maltreatment, and abuse,” Binay said.

Information from Polo-Riyadh revealed that the labor problems of the construction company started when it was bought by Al Rajhi in 2007. Al Swayeh also employed more than 2,000 workers from Bangladesh, Nepal, lndia, Pakistan, and Egypt.

Binay, in his statement, also noted that The Saudi Ministry of Labor had said that Al Swayeh gave priority to the payment of the workers’ unpaid salary and end-of-service benefits so it could no longer pay the cost of the OFWs’ plane tickets.

He said, however, that the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) had already been instructed by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz to coordinate with the OFWs’ recruitment agencies to provide tickets to their deployed workers.

He said that Owwa had also been instructed to provide the plane tickets for the workers whose agencies have closed, and that the costs would be reimbursed at a later time.

“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,” Binay said.


He said that the POEA and the Presidential Taskforce Against Illegal Recruitment (PTFAIR) had also been requested to look at the possibility of the OFWs’ being victims of illegal recruitment.

“We have received reports that the agencies that recruited these OFWs were engaging in illegal practices including overcharging of placement fees, contract substitution, collection of fees without official receipts, and illegal salary deductions,” he said.

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