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Ex-OFWs in Saudi still waiting for backpay
SENATOR Raffy Tulfo expressed concern over the still unpaid back wages and separation pay of thousands of former Saudi Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who lost their jobs after their companies declared bankruptcy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tulfo, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers, filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 505, seeking to look into the reported failure of former Saudi OFWs to register their claims for back pay despite the earlier commitment made by the Saudi government to settle claims.
“There have been several reports of former Saudi-based OFWs claiming back wages and separation pay with utterly unsuccessful attempts to register their claims,” his Resolution read.
Last Nov. 18, 2022, the Philippine government through the Department of Migrant Workers, announced that the Saudi Government has committed to settling the back wages and separation pay of around 10,000 OFWs whose salaries were unpaid when Saudi construction companies folded and declared bankruptcy a few years back.
These companies include Saudi OGer, MMG, the Bin Laden group, and other construction firms that have yet to pay back Filipino workers.
The announcement came after President Bongbong Marcos Jr. met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the APEC Summit in Bangkok where the latter 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 while the period of registration set by the Saudi Embassy was earlier set to end by January 31, 2023.
Reportedly, the process of registering claims was “tedious and chaotic,”, especially for some claimants who are digitally challenged and those who have lost some pertinent documents required.
In filing the resolution, the Senator from Isabela and Davao said it is necessary to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation to determine the extent of the problem and propose measures to address the situation.