DOLE flies home 354 distressed OFWs from KSA

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported that some 354 distressed overseas Filipino workers from Saudi Arabia arrived in Manila on Wednesday on board a chartered flight that it arranged.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he has instructed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to provide all necessary assistance to the arriving OFWs. The chartered flight, PAL flight PR655 landed at about 12:30 pm.

“All returning OFWs were brought to hotels which will serve as their quarantine facilities while awaiting results of their swab tests taken upon arrival,” he said.

In a report to Bello, Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa said majority of the passengers are distressed OFWs from Philippine Overseas Labor Office’s Bahay Kalinga in Riyadh, and from temporary shelters maintained by the POLOs in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia.

The repatriation of the OFWs is in line with the department’s efforts to provide assistance to OFWs adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unfortunately, some of our OFWs have been greatly impacted by the pandemic and we hope that our repatriation efforts would bring them comfort as they will soon join their families and loved ones,” Bello said.

He added that also included in the flight are 12 workers from Jussur Emdad, 45 workers from Arkad Co., as well as 14 OFWs previously employed by Abdullah Aldossary, Azmeel Contracting Co., Rakan Trading, which are all based in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia.

These OFWs joined a number of OFWs who have worked for Freyssinet, Jussur Emdad, Samana Company and Rent Human Resources as well as walk-in OFWs whose exit visas were facilitated by the labor office in Riyadh.

This developed as DOLE has so far transported more than 111,400 returning OFWs to their respective provinces. Comprising the last batch of OFWs to be sent home are 3,035 workers who took their rides in OWWA-arranged buses and other means of transportation on Monday.