In an update on OFWs repatriated from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said that a total of 1,190 OFWs were repatriated as of 14 September, all of whom have availed of the opportunity to return in the Philippines under the government's 'Bring Them Home' mission program.
Bello said that the displaced OFWs were employees of Mohammad Al Mojil Group of Company (MMG), Saudi Oger Ltd., Saudi Binladin Group (SBLG), Rakan Trading, and Arabtech. These are among the companies that were affected by the drop in oil prices in the Middle East.
The drop in oil prices has led to the disruption of mostly construction firms that employed a large number of Filipino workers.
The "Bring Them Home" mission is a convergence program among government agencies composed of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Department of Health (DOH), including the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah.
The program aims to bring home the stranded and overstaying OFWs due to the employment crisis in the Middle East.
"The 1,190 OFWs who have returned home came from three major cities of the KSA namely, Jeddah with 259 repatriates; Riyadh with 749; and Al Khobar with 182," said Bello.
Part of the programs and services provided to the OFW repatriates were airport assistance, transportation assistance and temporary accommodation at the OWWA Halfway Home before proceeding to their respective provinces.
Each Filipino repatriate was also given a cash assistance of P26,000 under the OWWA's Relief Assistance Program (RAP).
Other assistance that they can avail of at the DOLE are referral for local and overseas employment; competency assessment and certification; legal assistance; and livelihood assistance, which consists of entrepreneurial development training, TESDA-skills training and certification; and provision of raw materials, tools, and jigs for home-based livelihoods.
All these programs and services are under the DOLE's Assist WELL Program, a package of reintegration assistance and services consisting of welfare, employment, livelihood, and legal services, or W.E.L.L., intended to ensure the successful reintegration of OFWs repatriated from crisis or emergency situations.
Aside from the mission of bringing home the stranded OFWs, "Bring Them Home" program also addresses the psychosocial, health and documentary needs of the repatriates.
Source: Philippine Information Agency