US, Saudi firms want to hire OFWs from Sudan
WASHINGTON—Several companies in the United States and Saudi Arabia have expressed interest in hiring hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were displaced by the ongoing conflict in Sudan, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said at a news briefing here on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
“There are employers in the US, in the cruise ship industry and in Saudi Arabia who are very much interested and would like to see the profiles of our workers from Sudan,” said Ople, who was part of President Marcos’ delegation in his five-day working visit to the United States.
“Actually, we need to give them (OFWs) time to rest and then we will get their profiles. There were some workers who told me that they’re interested to work elsewhere, not in Sudan,” she added.
According to Ople, most of the Filipinos forced to leave the African nation due to warring military factions were skilled workers, among them teachers, nurses, engineers and construction workers.
She credited Mr. Marcos for “inspiring” US companies to hire more Filipinos in his various engagements since arriving here on Monday.
“It’s putting together the top American employers and giving them the chance to listen to our President. And they came out of the meeting really inspired,” Ople told reporters.
“They had a good realization about their contribution as employers being recognized by no less than the Philippine president,” she said.
“The prospects for employment [are] very bright. They truly appreciate the excellence of the Filipino workers and they also appreciate the encouraging words of our President,” she added.
Ople, meanwhile, said that her department had already facilitated the evacuation of about 600 Filipinos from Sudan, who would be flown to Manila via chartered flights.
On Thursday afternoon, 74 Filipinos belonging to the sixth and seventh batches of repatriates arrived in Manila, bringing to 189 the number of those who have been brought back home from the war-torn country so far.
Of the sixth batch, 44 were OFWs, seven were students, 17 were children and six were infants. They took commercial flights from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, after crossing the Port of Sudan on their way out of Khartoum, the country’s capital.
“Prior to leaving Cairo, they filled out a skills and needs inventory sheet where they identified their specific needs for assistance, including reintegration and redeployment options,” the Department of Migrant Workers said in a statement. In her briefing in Washington, Ople said the displaced OFWs would receive a total of P100,000 in cash assistance from the government to help them and their families cope with the changes in their situation.
“The President is very much concerned and is always updated on the results of our repatriation efforts,” she said.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, there were 750 Filipinos in Sudan when fighting between rival military factions broke out.