Philippines, Saudi Arabia to ink deal to protect OFWs

Paterno Esmaquel II
Philippines, Saudi Arabia to ink deal to protect OFWs
The two countries will also sign two other foreign relations agreements during President Rodrigo Duterte's state visit to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The Philippines and Saudi Arabia will forge an agreement to protect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) here, Philippine Consul General to Riyadh Iric Arribas said Monday, April 10.

The two countries will sign this deal during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to Riyadh from April 10 to 12.

“Ang basic agreement dito ay of course ‘yung protection ng Filipino workers dito sa Saudi Arabia from deployment to employment,” Arribas said in a briefing with Filipino reporters.

(The basic agreement here of course is the protection of Filipino workers here in Saudi Arabia from deployment to employment.)

Arribas explained that there had already been a previous labor agreement between the two countries “on the deployment of household service workers.”

He said the upcoming labor agreement “is an effort to improve previous agreements because it’s always a process of consultation and improvement of the relationship.”

In his briefing with reporters, Arribas also said the Philippines will sign two other agreements during Duterte’s visit here:

  • an agreement between the two countries’ foreign ministries to regularly discuss areas of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the Philippines
  • an agreement between the two countries’ diplomatic academies to explore areas of cooperation

Saudi Arabia is Duterte’s first stop during his 3-country trip to the Middle East while the Philippines marks Holy Week.

Duterte is scheduled to visit Bahrain and Qatar after Saudi Arabia, as he hopes “to inspire people making a living in these countries.” 

“Ang pagbisita nga dito ng Pangulo ay isang oportunidad na mapalawak at mapagtibay ‘yung ating relationship with Saudi Arabia, at the same time ‘yung welfare ng mga kababayan natin dito ay talagang mabigyan ng atensyon,” Arribas said.

(The visit of our President here is an opportunity to widen and strengthen our relationship with Saudi Arabia, at the same time to really give attention to the welfare of our countrymen here.)

In his departure speech at the Davao International Airport on Monday, Duterte said he would “bring home” some OFWs on death row if they are granted clemency.

“I will fly them home. Pagdating ko dito, dala ko na ‘yung iba (When I return to the Philippines, I’ll be bringing some of them home).” –

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at