The Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) agree to create a joint technical working group (TWG) for the distribution of payments for the unpaid salaries of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in bankrupt companies in the KSA.
In a press conference, Department of Migrant Workers Undersecretary Patricia Yvonne Caunan said the joint TWG that would work on this was created after September’s discussions between the Department and the KSA’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD), GMA News reported.
“Since then, the TWG has been discussing the details on the resumption of deployment,” the official, quoted by the GMA New report, said.
On the Philippine side, the TWG comprises DMW Undersecretary Bernard Olalia, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs’ (OUMWA) chief Paul Cortez, and the labor attaches in Riyadh, Al Khobar, and Jeddah.
On KSA’s side, MHRSD head Ahmed bin Sulaiman AlRajhi, Saudi delegation’s head Abdul Wahab, among others, were part of the TWG.
The KSA government earlier said it will allocate 2 billion riyals for the unpaid salaries of some 10,000 overseas Filipinos employed by construction companies that declared bankruptcy.
Reports said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. received the “good news” from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.
The amount will cover the unpaid salaries of workers employed by firms such as Saudi OGer, MMG, the Bin Laden group, and other construction firms that have yet to pay back Filipino workers, GMA News further reported.
The report also quoted DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople as saying that they “were still consulting with the KSA government on the payment details.”
“We don’t want to raise false expectations so everything that we say) has to have also the concurrence of the Saudi’s side so it’s clear,” Ople said.
The joint TWG is set to meet Monday afternoon, Manila time, Ople said.
Since the program is still in the consultation stage, Ople warned against scammers who are already offering to assist OFWs in claiming unpaid salaries.
The requirements and other details are not yet settled, according to Ople.
Records show that there were 8,829 claimants from Saudi OGer and 3,454 from MMG.
However, Ople said there are still ongoing court cases in connection with unpaid salaries of some OFWs in companies that declared bankruptcy.