LABOR Secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday said government has decided to reduce the number of Filipino workers being deployed to Saudi Arabia because of the “slow action” of the Saudi government on the plight of about 300 workers there.
Bello said repeated appeals to the Saudi government have not resulted in any action to help the Filipino workers who have not been paid salaries since April 2019, or whose two-year-old monetary claims have yet to be settled.
“The purpose of the scaling down is to call the attention of the Saudi government to what we consider as the slow action on the plight of more than 300 workers. We have yet to see the result of Saudi intervention,” he said.
He said guidelines for the scaling down will still be crafted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
Bello said all workers will be covered by the scaling down, from household service workers to skilled workers.
“We will not issue OECs (overseas employment certificates) to new deployments. The matter of `balik manggagawas’ will be on a case-to-case basis,” he said.
“This is not a ban, just a scaling down (of deployment),” he added.
There are some 2.3 million Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia. – Gerard Naval