Saudi OFWs with unpaid wages should be wary of 'middlemen': gov't

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 21 2022 04:18 PM

Overseas Filipino Workers queue at the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 as they process their travel documents for their overseas trip on May 31, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
Overseas Filipino Workers queue at the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 as they process their travel documents for their overseas trip on May 31, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Overseas Filipino workers should be wary of unscrupulous individuals posing online as “middlemen” who could supposedly help get their wages from bankrupt firms in Saudi Arabia, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said on Monday. 

The Saudi government recently agreed to pay the wages of some 10,000 OFWs who have yet to receive their salaries from Saudi-based employers since 2015. 

Saudi and Philippine authorities are still ironing out the details of the payout, said Migrant Workers Secretary Susan "Toots" Ople. 

“Kung may lumalapit po sa inyo, nagsasabi sa inyo ito ang paraan para makakuha ng claims niyo kaagad o sinasabi sa inyo na pahingi ng contact details niyo at kami na magsasabi sa inyo kung ano ang developments, hindi po totoo yon,” Ople said. 

(If someone approaches you and says this is how you could get your claims quickly or asks for your contact details so they could inform you of developments, that is not true.)

Ople said announcements on the payout will only come from her and DMW Undersecretary Hans Cacdac, who is knowledgeable on Saudi OGer, MMG, the Bin Laden group, and other construction firms that declared bankruptcy in 2015 and in 2016. 

The payout for displaced workers involves 2 billion Riyals that the Saudi government will shoulder, according to the DMW and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who received the pledge from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

“There are around 8,829 claimants from the Saudi OGer side and 3,454 claimants from MMG side on record and well, we know now for sure that most of the workers come from Saudi OGer,” Cacdac said.

The DMW is already in touch with law enforcement groups to prevent individuals who could dupe the claimants, some of whom include the wives or family members of displaced workers who died without receiving their unpaid benefits, Ople said. 

But the agency declined to give a timeline on the payout and advised the claimants to have more patience in waiting for details. 

“We don’t want to raise false expectations, so everything na sasabihin namin has to have the concurrence of the Saudi side para klaro. So we just want to assure everyone now we are working on this and it will be worked on together,” Ople said.
 
(Everything we say has to have the concurrence of the Saudi so it is clear.) 

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