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Pinoy Abroad

Stranded Saudi-bound OFWs return to provinces after deployment ban

Some stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have decided to return to their provinces after the Philippine government imposed a temporary deployment ban to the Middle Eastern country.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) head Hans Leo Cacdac said the agency has provided food, transportation, and accommodation assistance to around 400 stranded OFWs affected by the deployment ban.

Some OFWs who are residing in Metro Manila and nearby provinces were sent home through OWWA’s shuttle service.

Meanwhile, those who came from Visayas and Mindanao will be returning home while processing their airline rebooking.

“May mga nai-transport katulad ng mga taga-[National Capital Region] at karatig lugar ay naisakay sa ating shuttles at inuwi muna (We provided shuttle services for some OFWs from NCR and nearby provinces),” he said.

“May mga taga-Visayas at Mindanao ay meron din tayong naiuwi. Halimbawa, ngayon mayroon tayong isasakay pauwi ng Zamboanga muna habang naghihintay ng kanyang rebooking,” he added.

(There are also OFWs from Visayas and Mindanao who went home to their provinces. There is one OFW who will return to Zamboanga today and will stay there while he wait for his rebooking.)

Cacdac said they will assist the OFWs affected by the deployment ban in their rebooking with two airline companies offering flights to Saudi.

OWWA will also contact the Saudi Embassy to help the OFWs with their visas.

On Friday, the Philippine government has imposed a temporary deployment ban to OFWs bound for Saudi Arabia. The ban, however, was lifted the following day.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the temporary suspension of deployment to the Middle Eastern country was meant to ensure that OFWs will not be financially burdened by the protocol since they are being required to shoulder the cost of the entire 10-day quarantine.

Bello said the government of KSA required all foreigners entering the country to undergo a 10-day quarantine. This will cost around $3,500.

Earlier today, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced that the employers of the OFWs will shoulder the cost of the institutional quarantine imposed by the Saudi government.

This is based on the information from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia communicated through Saudi Ambassador to the Philippines Abdullah Al-Bussairy.

The deployment ban is expected to be lifted immediately once Bello receives the copy of the clarification letter on the quarantine requirements for OFWs from the Saudi government, according to Administrator Bernand Olalia of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. -MDM, GMA News