Gov't says ready to evacuate Pinoys in Saudi after attacks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2019 03:19 PM

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco facility in the eastern city of Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14, 2019. Reuters/Stringer

MANILA - The government assured Filipino migrant workers in Saudi Arabia Tuesday that it is prepared to evacuate them if necessary, following the weekend bombing of oil facilities there.

The Department of Labor and Employment said it is still reviewing with the help of the Department of Foreign Affairs possible implications of the bombings on facilities of state-run oil firm Saudi Aramco on the safety and security of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the kingdom.

"...[W]e are ready for any eventual repatriation to ensure the safety and security of OFWs, or help them secure employment in the other areas,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said in a statement.

Some 50,000 Filipinos working in areas affected by the bombings in Saudi Arabia may be repatriated if needed, he added.

The Iran-backed Houthi group in Yemen claimed responsibility for Saturday's attacks that shut two plants at the Abqaiq facility, the heart of the Saudi oil industry.

This will cut the kingdom's production by about 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd), more than half of the kingdom's output, according to a Saudi Aramco statement.

Bello, meanwhile, noted that there are no reported injuries among Filipino migrant workers there. There was also no reported work disruption.

"Our Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in Al Khobar, Riyadh, and Dammam are also on top of the situation to check on the conditions of our OFWs,” he said. 

Some 550,000 Filipinos are working in Saudi Arabia, according to a 2018 survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

-with a report from Reuters