The Philippine government announced on December 17, 2019, it is looking to scale down next year the sending of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
“We plan to scale down our deployment to Saudi Arabia starting next year. This will be the first time, at least during my term,” Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a press conference.
Bello said the move is due to the slow action concerning the plight of Filipino workers, noting that they have yet to receive any actions on their appeal regarding the case of OFWs including those who failed to get their salaries since April.
“The purpose of the scaling down is to call the attention of the Saudi government to what we consider as the slow action on the plight of workers. We have yet to see the result of Saudi intervention,” he added.
Bello said it will cover all OFW sectors, from household service workers to skilled workers.
“We will not issue OECs (Overseas Employment Certificate) to new deployments. The matter of balik-manggagawas (returning OFWs) will be on a case-to-case basis. This is not a ban, just a scaling down (of deployment),” he noted.
At the same time, he added that the guidelines of the scaling down of deployment will be crafted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
There are some 2.3 million OFWs deployed in Saudi Arabia. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)