January 16, 2022

Migrante International welcomes the decision of OWWA to provide financial aid relief in the amount of Php 10K for Saudi OFWs who were affected and displaced by the Saudi Crisis starting in 2016. This is a victory for our Saudi OFWs who took collective action to push for financial assistance from DOLE and OWWA while their labor claims are pending in Saudi Arabia.

For more than five years they have been awaiting the resolution of their labor claims that amount to billions worth of unpaid salaries and end of service benefits from their companies who have filed for bankruptcy. Many of them have worked for their companies for more than a decade and yet in a time of crisis, they are neglected. They have lost their livelihood and now they and their families face another crisis brought about by the pandemic.

The provision of financial aid is an initial victory, but DOLE and the Philippine government must urgently and proactively address the main problem and clamor of our Saudi OFWs: the non-payment of their hard-earned benefits and months’ long wages. DOLE must also ensure that it provides financial aid to those currently stranded in Saudi Arabia and were likewise affected by the Saudi Crisis because based on the requirements, they are excluded from this financial aid program.

On December 8, 2020 Migrante International and close to twenty Saudi OFWs organized an action in front of OWWA and during a dialogue, presented OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac the following demands for DOLE to take action on:

1. DOLE to ensure the full payment of unpaid wages and end of service benefits for all Saudi OFWs and immediate resolution of their labor claims in Saudi. Provide legal assistance to our OFWs to boost the efforts of the Saudi Labor Ministry;

2. DOLE to release the details of its meeting with the Saudi Labor Minister, including the actual figures of the total pending claims of all displaced Saudi OFWs from all companies;

3. Provide financial assistance to all affected by the Saudi Crisis, including those who remain stranded in Saudi;

4. Provide repatriation and welfare assistance for those affected and remain stranded in Saudi.

Not a single Saudi OFW has received their wages and benefits before Christmas, as promised by Secretary Bello. We demand a clear plan of action from the Duterte government on how it will protect the rights of thousands of our Saudi OFWs.

Migrante remains steadfast in continuing its campaign to pursue justice for all our Saudi OFWs until they receive their hard-earned wages and benefits! We will hold to account Secretary Bello and Duterte for their promises! ###