Saudi gov't to shoulder unpaid wages of OFWs since 2015

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 18 2022 07:22 PM

 Saudi Arabia Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud attends the APEC Leader's Informal Dialogue with Guests during the APEC 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand, on November 18, 2022. EPA-EFE/Rungroj Yongrit / Pool
Saudi Arabia Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud attends the APEC Leader's Informal Dialogue with Guests during the APEC 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand, on November 18, 2022. EPA-EFE/Rungroj Yongrit / Pool

BANGKOK — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has agreed to pay the wages of some 10,000 overseas Filipino workers who have yet to receive their salaries from Saudi-based employers since 2015, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said on Friday.

Saudi has "set aside 2 billion Riyals to help our displaced workers," DMW Secretary Susan Ople said in a statement.

"The Crown Prince, His Royal Highness, announced and said that this was his gift – he really prepared for this and this was an agreement reached by the Saudi government just a few days ago," she said. 

"So this is really good news and we thank po Saudi Arabia."

The policy will cover workers from Saudi OGer, MMG, the Bin Laden group, and other construction companies that declared bankruptcy in 2015 and in 2016, the DMW said.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. described the announcement as "very good news."

"Pinaghandaan talaga tayo ni Crown Prince. Kaya’t sabi niya ‘yung desisyon na ‘yan ay nangyari lamang noong nakaraang ilang araw at dahil nga magkikita kami at sabi niya ito ‘yung regalo ko para sa inyo," said Marcos, after his bilateral meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi’s labor minister assured Filipino officials that the failure of employers to pay OFWs in Saudi will not happen again, the President said.

"Sila mismo magbibigay ng insurance kung sakali man mangyari ulit ‘yan na malugi ‘yung korporasyon na tinatrabahuhan nila at hindi nila makuha ang kanilang sahod, ‘yung insurance ang magbabayad," he said.

"So marami rin talagang tinutulong sa atin ang pamahalaan ng Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," he said.

In 2020, 26.6 percent of the 3.48 million documented OFWs were working in Saudi Arabia, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Aside from construction workers, the Philippines has also deployed health workers and domestic workers to the Middle Eastern kingdom.