OFWs in Qatar get P22M benefits; Bahrain monarch pardons 16

THE Department of Labor and Employment reported that it was able to help 59 overseas Filipino workers in Qatar to secure unpaid salaries and end-of-service benefits.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Doha worked closely with the Qatar Ministry of Administrative Development Labor and Social Affairs for the payment of the benefits after the workers were terminated late last year by their employer.

“We are grateful for the assistance given by the Qatar government that compelled their previous employer to give the affected OFWs all the salaries and benefits due them,” he said.

Bello said the 59 workers, employed by Leighton Contracting Company, were terminated in December 2019 on redundancy issues. Leighton, however, failed to provide salaries and separation benefits, prompting the workers to file a complaint with the POLO in Qatar.

The workers were employed as site engineers, site supervisors, foreman, plumbers, riggers and carpenters. They had been employed by Leighton for 2 to 5 years prior to their termination.

Leighton is currently arranging the repatriation of the 59 affected workers.

Also in the Middle East, 16 OFWs were among the 154 inmates who were recently granted royal pardon by His Majesty King Hamad bin lsa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The move, through a royal decree, was hailed by President Duterte as an act of benevolence done in celebration of this year’s Eid Al-Fitr.

“This act of humanity by His Majesty King Hamad Bin lsa Al Khalifa provides renewed hope and an opportunity for our countrymen and women to build new lives,” the President said in his letter of gratitude to the King.

Those pardoned were convicted of drug peddling, murder, accessory to murder, attempted homicide, prostitution, embezzlement of funds, stealing, human trafficking, and involvement in fights.

They have partially served their sentences ranging from less than one year imprisonment to the death penalty.

Eleven of them were already deported to the Philippines while deportation of four others are still being arranged.

The remaining OFW has been pardoned for the crime of drug peddling, but still faces a 7-year jail term for human trafficking.

The royal pardon made on May 20 was hailed as a testimony to the strong ties, shared values, and friendship between the governments of the Philippines and Bahrain.