Displaced Saudi OFWs closer to getting paid, says DMW
The thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who their lost jobs in Saudi Arabia during the oil price crash of 2015 are a step closer to being compensated, according to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
The funds to be used to pay them have already been downloaded to the Saudi Ministry of Finances, Migrant Secretary Susan Ople disclosed on Friday.
Ople and Undersecretary Bernard Olalia concluded talks with the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development earlier this week, during which the ministry accepted a list of some 12,000 Filipino claimants.
The list may still undergo vetting since earlier DMW statements placed the number of affected OFWs only between 10,000 and 11,000.
“This is a firm commitment on the part of the Saudi government by virtue of the order coming from the Crown Prince [Mohammed Bin Salman] himself,” Ople told reporters.
Olalia added: “All of our 10,000 workers that have waited will be receiving full payment. Including their end of service of benefit.”
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Ople said the Saudi government had formed a “default company committee” composed of different ministries which would meet every week to work out the details of the payments. In a statement in April, Ople expressed hope that the OFWs would get the money “within the year.”
More details may emerge with the planned visit of Saudi Minister Mahir bin Abdulrahman Al-Gassim to the country, tentatively set for June, she said.
In November, the Saudi Crown Prince pledged to President Marcos two billion riyals (P30.5 billion) as payment for all the OFWs who were displaced when the Middle Eastern kingdom was hit by an oil price crash in 2015 that crippled several major construction companies employing Filipinos.
Confident that the funds were now on their way, Ople said the DMW had yet to ask exactly how much would be given to the Filipinos since part of funds would also be used to compensate Saudi Arabian workers.
Olalia said the displaced OFWs would be getting amounts equivalent to their unpaid salaries and other benefits.
According to the Department of Labor and Employment, the companies involved in the labor crisis were: Mohammad Al Mojil Group (MMG), Saudi Bin Ladin, Saudi Oger, FAWZI, Arabtech, MHM & Bros, Rakan Trading, ETE Company, SAAD, Alumco, and SRACO.
More than 8,000 of the displaced OFWs were from Saudi Oger alone.