Over 300 distressed overseas Filipino workers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) arrived in the country on Wednesday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the 354 OFWs were brought home onboard a chartered Philippine Airlines flight, PR655, which landed in Manila at about 12:30 pm.
At the same time, Bello instructed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide all necessary assistance to the arriving OFWs.
Based on the report of Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa to Bello, the majority of the passengers are distressed OFWs from Philippine Overseas Labor Office’s (POLO) Bahay Kalinga in Riyadh, and from temporary shelters maintained by the POLOs in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia.
The repatriation of the OFWs is in line with the department’s efforts to provide assistance to OFWs adversely affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Unfortunately, some of our OFWs have been greatly impacted by the pandemic and we hope that our repatriation efforts would bring them comfort as they will soon join their families and loved ones,” Bello said.
Included in the flight are 12 workers from Jussur Emdad, 45 workers from Arkad Co., as well as 14 OFWs previously employed by Abdullah Aldossary, Azmeel Contracting Co., Rakan Trading, which are all based in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia.
“These OFWs joined a number of OFWs who have worked for Freyssinet, Jussur Emdad, Samana Company and Rent Human Resources as well as walk-in OFWs whose exit visas were facilitated by the labor office in Riyadh,” he added.
Meanwhile, the DOLE reported that it has transported more than 111,400 returning Filipino workers abroad to their respective provinces.
The latest batch of returnees who were sent home includes 3,035 workers who took their rides in OWWA-arranged buses and other means of transportation on Monday.
In compliance with protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, all returning OFWs are brought to quarantine facilities upon their arrival. (PNA)