MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday vowed continued help for repatriated overseas Filipino workers from Saudi Arabia and give assistance to those who are still stranded.
Duterte personally welcomed 128 OFWs from Saudi Arabia who lost their jobs because of the weakening economy of the oil-rich kingdom.
Off the cuff, Duterte announced that he would give each of the 128 OFWs P5,000.
He promised to assist OFWs to start a new life here through various government loans that would allow them to build small businesses.
''Makakahiram ka ng pera at makapag-start ka ng negosyo mo…Take advantage of it. It is for everybody,'' Duterte told the OFWs.
(You can borrow money and start your business... Take advantage of it. It is for everybody.)
The president even promised to welcome the OFWs to the doors of Malacanang if their situation gets desperate.
"If it spells hunger don’t hesitate to call me," he said.
As more OFWs are expected to come home, Duterte promised to improve the economy so that they would not have to seek jobs abroad.
''Maghintay-hintay lang kayo. Bigyan mo lang ako ng konting pahanon, ayusin ko ang ekonomiya at may opportunity for you to work here,'' he said.
(Just wait and give me some time. I will fix the economy so you will have more work opportunity here.)
Duterte also promised help for stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia, saying he sent a delegation there to fast-track the repatriation process.
''We have the money, contingency, resources to do it,'' he said.
The Philippine government estimates that at least 9,000 Filipino workers are affected by the slumping of oil prices in Saudi.