Imee Marcos says she visited Ilocano OFWs in Mideast trip
BAGUIO CITY — Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos said her visit to the Middle East allowed her to assess the condition of migrant workers from the Ilocos region in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Marcos was part of President Duterte’s delegation in his state visits to three Middle East countries this week.
In a statement issued on Thursday (April 13), Marcos said 61 per cent of Ilocos Norte families rely on remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFW), adding that Ilocos Norte receives the highest dollar remittances earned from “the blood, sweat and tears of our fellow Ilocanos.”
Marcos said she heard many stories about abuses, as well as work difficulties, citing as example the plight of the husband of a Sarrat town resident in Ilocos Norte, who has not received his salary for 11 months.
“We are negotiating with the Saudi Ministry of Labor,” Marcos said, alongside Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III who is working out financial and legal aid for OFWs from the Ilocos and other provinces.
Saudi Arabia has enforced a 90-day amnesty for illegal migrants and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has been processing the repatriation of as many as 5,000 OFWs.
Last year, the government had to repatriate thousands of distressed Filipino workers who were stranded in Saudi Arabia camps, unable to return home after being laid-off due to the impact of a world oil slump on the Kingdom.
“I also visited the Philippine Embassy to meet with Ilocanos who applied for amnesty. There are also many Ilocano nurses who asked for help,” Marcos said. CBB/rga
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