Sen. Raffy Tulfo aired concern over the unpaid back wages and separation pay of around 10,000 Saudi Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Tulfo, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers, filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 505 to inquire into the reported failure of former Saudi OFWs to get back pay despite earlier commitment by the Saudi government to settle their claims.
He mentioned reports on unsuccessful attempts of our OFWs to claim from their employers who declared bankruptcy due to the pandemic.
These companies include Saudi OGer, MMG, the Bin Laden group, and other construction firms.
Last Nov. 18, 2022, the Philippine government through the Department of Migrant Workers, announced that the Saudi government vowed to pay our former OFWs.
The said announcement came after President Bongbong Marcos Jr. met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the APEC Summit in Bangkok.
The two leaders then agreed to shoulder the P1-billion wage claims of the OFWs.
According to OFW-Family Club President Roy Señeres Jr., only a measly number of around 200 OFWs were able to register as required by the embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The period of registration by the Saudi Embassy was earlier set to end by January 31, 2023.
Reportedly, the process of registering claims was “tedious and chaotic,” especially to some claimants who are digitally challenged and to those who have lost some pertinent documents required.
In filing the resolution, Tulfo cited the need for an inquiry to determine the extent of the problem and propose measures to address the situation. Macon Ramos-Araneta