Hundreds of OFWs barred from flying to Saudi Arabia amid confusion of govt deployment ban | Global News
Close  

Hundreds of OFWs barred from flying to Saudi Arabia amid confusion of govt deployment ban

/ 05:57 PM May 28, 2021
Hundreds of OFWs barred from flying to Saudi Arabia amid confusion of govt deployment ban

The government’s deployment ban leaves hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) stranded and unable to fly out of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) on Friday. AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) bound for Saudi Arabia were stranded and prevented from flying out of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) on Friday amid confusion over the government’s deployment ban.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) said over 400 OFWs booked in two separate flights to Riyadh and Dammam were not allowed to board the aircraft.

ADVERTISEMENT

Both planes continued the flights nearly empty at their designated departure times to carry passengers on the return leg to Manila.

PAL said the reason for the confusion was the government’s directive to temporarily suspend the deployment of OFWs to Saudi Arabia the previous day without informing the airline.

FEATURED STORIES

“We had not received any official government order directing airlines not to accept OFWs bound for Saudi Arabia, but we complied with verbal instructions from the immigration authorities who are no longer accepting OFWs for travel,” PAL said in its advisory, adding it “regrets” the incident.

The deployment ban was ordered by the Department of Labor and Employment on May 27 this year.

This came after the department received reports that departing OFWs were required by employers and recruitment agencies to pay for the cost of COVID-19 safety requirements and insurance coverage upon their entry in Saudi Arabia.

Because the airline was not informed of the deployment ban, PAL said the OFWs managed to complete the check-in procedures at Naia.

“However, the Bureau of Immigration’s non-acceptance of our OFW passengers led to their exclusion from the flight,” PAL explained.

PAL said the affected flights were PR5654, which had 282 OFW passengers, and PR5682, which had 120 OFW passengers.

The flag carrier mounts weekly flights to Riyadh and Damman, mainly serving the OFW market.

“We have appealed with the government on behalf of our OFW passengers and hope for a positive resolution,” PAL said.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Department of Labor and Employment, Deployment Ban, NAIA, Philippine Airlines, Saudi Arabia
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.