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Pinoy Abroad

Philippines to lift OFW deployment ban on Saudi Arabia

After the completion of bilateral discussions with Saudi Arabia, the Philippine government will lift its Saudi deployment ban on November 7, Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan Ople said Tuesday.

Ople explained that she and other DMW officials reached an agreement with Saudi Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Ahmad Bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi under which both countries would undertake measures “to facilitate the decent and productive employment of OFWs and ensure the protection of their rights.”

"Based on our agreement with Minister Al-Rajhi, we will resume deploying Filipino workers to Saudi Arabia beginning November 7," Ople said in a mix of English and Filipino.

She said the date was chosen so the DMW would have time to prepare for its meetings with Philippine recruitment agencies, strengthen its coordination with the Technical Education And Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in ensuring the deployment of fully trained domestic workers, and complete their automation process.

The DMW said Saudi Arabia and the Philippines have agreed to the following:

• Constitute a Technical Working Group composed of representatives from both parties to monitor the implementation of labor reforms and jointly resolve concerns of workers;

• Implement a Blacklist and a Whitelist of Saudi Recruitment Agencies and employers;

• Revise the Standard Employment Contract of OFWs to reflect all guarantees under the Saudi Labor Reform Initiatives including insurance for unpaid wages, timely release of salaries through electronic payments, and a pre-termination clause; 

• Convene regular Joint Committee Meetings to ensure full compliance with the above agreements and address challenges in the implementation of these labor reforms; and

• Sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on combatting trafficking in persons, investigating, and prosecuting offenders, and providing support to OFW victims of trafficking in persons.— DVM, GMA News