MANILA, Philippines – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) begins releasing financial aid to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) left unpaid and laid off in Saudi Arabia following the plunge in global oil prices.
Thousands of OFWs working in various construction companies remain stranded in the kingdom after not being paid their salaries for months and getting laid off without getting end-of-service benefits. (READ: ‘Thousands of OFWs remain stranded, unpaid in Saudi Arabia‘ )
Under OWWA’s Relief Assistance Program (RAP), affected OFWs, including those who have been repatriated to the Philippines, are each entitled to a P20,000 cash assistance.
Likewise, families of affected OFWs who are still stranded in the kingdom may get P6,000 financial assistance.
Qualified OFWs are those employed in the following Saudi Arabia-based companies:
- 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.
- Real Estate Development and Investment Company
The Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO-OWWA) in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar will distribute the financial assistance to qualified OFWs still in the kingdom.
On the other hand, qualified workers already repatriated back to the Philippines as well as the families of those still at jobsite may claim their respective financial assistance through the OWWA Regional Welfare Offices.
Documentary requirements for claimants may be viewed at the OWWA website.
This move follows Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III’s visit to the kingdom last July.
Migrante International’s chairman Garry Martinez told Agence France Presse that some Filipinos are forced to beg or sift through garbage to survive after going unpaid for months.
“Some of them have nothing to eat and have to go through the garbage for food,” Martinez said.
Migrante coordinator Gilbert Saludo – who returned from Saudi Arabia last month after two years working there – said as many as 20,000 Filipinos could be affected. – Rappler.com
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