Saudi gov’t to shoulder wage claims of displaced OFWs – Malacanang

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Saudi government pledged to shoulder the wage claims of some 10,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were displaced after several Riyadh-based construction firms declared bankruptcy in 2015 and 2016, Malacañang said Friday.

In a news release, Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil, officer-in-charge of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said this development came after President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. held a bilateral meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand.

Quoting a report from Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople, the OPS said OFWs who worked for Saudi OGer, MMG, Bin Laden group and other construction firms that went bankrupt will receive compensation from the Saudi government.

“So they have set aside two billion riyals (P30.46 million) to help our displaced workers. So this is really good news and we thank Saudi Arabia,” Garafil stated.

President Marcos welcomed the latest development, and thanked Prince Mohammed for the “good news” and his “gift” for the displaced OFWs.

“That is indeed a very good news. Crown Prince prepared for it. He said he made the decision just a few days before our meeting and stressed that it is his gift for us,” Marcos said, speaking in Filipino as quoted by the OPS.

Likewise, Marcos said there was also an assurance from the Saudi Ministry of Labor that “there will be no more repeats of unpaid salaries among Filipinos in the Middle East country and a commitment to establish an insurance system for OFWs.”

“They themselves will grant an insurance, just in case any corporations where they are working declare bankruptcy and fail to give their salaries. So, the government of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is really helping us,” Marcos said.

Investment opportunities and energy issues were also discussed during the said bilateral meeting, which Garafil said the President hopes to discuss with the Saudi Prince, also known as MBS, when he visits the Philippines.

“If the Crown Prince is able to visit us and we will discuss not only labor issues but also investment opportunities,” Marcos said.