DMW says resolution to unpaid wages of 10,000 Saudi OFWs possible this year
MANILA, Philippines — There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for around 10,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were displaced in Saudi Arabia from 2015 to 2016.
This is because the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Friday vowed to solve their issues of unpaid salaries and benefits this year. The OFWs were retrenched when the kingdom was struck by a financial crisis.
The DMW said the economic crunch in the Middle Eastern country had forced construction firms to file for bankruptcy, consequently resulting in a massive job loss for thousands of Filipino migrant workers during that period.
“Masasabi ko with full confidence na mareresolba ang isyu ng unpaid claims ng around 10,000 OFWs dating back from 2015 to 2016 noong na-bankrupt ang kanilang mga kumpanya. Mareresolba iyan within the year,” DMW chief Susan “Toots” Ople said in a news conference.
(I can say with full confidence that we can resolve the issue of unpaid claims of around 10,000 OFWs dating back from 2015 to 2016 when their companies went bankrupt. We’ll resolve that within the year.)
In previous administrations, Ople said, the coordination between the governments of the Philippines and Saudi Arabia was unclear, causing the years-long delay in claim payouts.
But there was a turn of events when President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Thailand last November, she added.
“Iyon ang nagbago ng lahat. Dahil sa pangako ng Crown Prince na patuloy…iyong usapan ng dalawang panig,” Ople said.
(That’s when things changed. Because of the promise of the Crown Prince…to continue the dialogue between the two countries.)
DMW to OFW claimants: Send email
The government of Saudi Arabia had already committed to shoulder the unpaid compensation of the displaced OFWs.
But to move forward with this, Ople said the Saudi government had asked the Philippine government to provide them with a full list of claimants, which must include the following details:
- Occupation and period of employment in Saudi Arabia
- Name of company
- Iqama number
- Number of old passport
- Salary during period of employment
- Amount of total unpaid claims
“Iyong listahan na iyan, dapat ma-submit ng DMW sa aming counterparts matapos ang Ramadan. Siguro sa unang linggo ng Mayo,” she said.
(The DMW should be able to submit that list to our counterparts after Ramadan. Maybe the first week of May.)
This would be ahead of Ople’s meeting with her counterparts in Saudi Arabia on May 24,. The meeting is expected to iron out details of the payout for the unclaimed wages.
However, since government agencies have different versions of the list, the DMW chief advised claimants – who can also be represented by their widows or first-born children – to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The template of the email, as provided by the DMW, should be as follows:
Ako po si __________. Nag-trabaho ako sa Saudi bilang ____________ noong ___________. Ang pangalan ng kumpanya ko ay __________. Ang aking Iqama number ____________. Ang lumang passport number ko ay _____________. Ang sweldo ko noon ay __________. Ang aking hinahabol na claims ay _________.
Para sa karagdagang impormasyon, maari niyo akong tawagan sa number na ito ______. Ang aking address ay __________.
Maraming salamat po.”
Ople said claimants may also attach in the email any salient document that would help the DMW in creating and validating the list.
“Kung nasa ibang bansa, kailangan namin ma-contact kayo kasi kailangan din namin malaman sino pinagkakatiwalaan niyo rito sa Pilipinas para meron din kaming kausap in case may bagong development,” she also noted.
(For those in another country, we need to contact you to find out who in the Philippines you can trust as your representative so we can contact them in case of new developments.)
The Philippine government had earlier promised to give the retrenched OFWs P10,000 each as financial aid pending the resolution to their claims.
According to the DMW, around 40 of the claimants have died as of November 2022. The payment for them would instead go to their families, it added.