MANILA—The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has started distributing financial assistance to affected overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and their families in the Philippines.
According to Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III, half of the PHP500 million cash assistance under the Relief Assistance Program (RAP) of the OWWA has been released to the beneficiaries.
“That was already delivered to them. But hindi pa completed because we have difficulty sending big amounts. Unang-una, we have a very small complement in Saudi. And it is very difficult for them to explain why they suddenly have half a billion pesos. Initially, we sent half of the amount. The balance of that amount is forthcoming,” he said.
He reported that the distribution started among the migrant workers in Jeddah, Riyadh and Al Khobar.
Bello said that the cost is not an issue on the part of President Rodrigo R. Duterte. “Oo, iyon ang sabi niya. Hindi issue ‘yan. Sabi niya, at all cost. So we are just doing it, although hopefully we could get some assistance from the Saudi government.”
Under the RAP, a cash assistance of PHP20,000 shall be extended to affected OFWs who are either staying in camps or live-out in KSA, or have been repatriated to the Philippines, but have not received their salaries or end-of-service benefits.
Families of affected OFWs who are still at job site shall likewise be granted PHP6,000 financial assistance.
Qualified to avail of the RAP are affected OFWs employed by nine companies in KSA, namely: Mohammed al-Mojil Group (MMG); Saudi Bin Laden Group of Companies (SBG); Saudi Oger Ltd. (SOL); Mohammad Hameed Al-Bargash & Bros. Trading & Construction; Aluminum Company (ALUMCO L.L.C.); Rajeh H. Al Merri Contracting Company; Arabtec Construction L.L.C.; Fawzi Salah-Al Nairani Contracting Company; and Real Estate Development and Investment Company.
On the other hand, qualified workers already repatriated back to the Philippines as well as the families of those still at job site may claim their respective financial assistance through the OWWA Regional Welfare Offices nearest their residence.