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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Saudi Crown Prince allocates fund for unpaid claims of 10,000 OFWs

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THE office of the Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman has assured the Philippine government that it has already allocated funding to pay for more than 10,000 Filipinos who were laid off by companies that went bankrupt in 2015 and 2016.

Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople announced made the announcement following a meeting with her Saudi counterpart from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD), Ahmad bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Monday.

“Minister Al-Rajhi gave us the good news that funds to pay for the unpaid claims for our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) are already allocated with the Ministry of Finance under the full authorization of the central government,” Ople said.

More than 12,000 former OFWs have applied to claim for end-of-service benefits and unpaid wages after their companies defaulted at the height of the economic crisis in the Kingdom.

Former Filipino workers from nine Saudi companies that went bankrupt will benefit from this program. Ople said even Saudi nationals who were not paid their benefits will also be covered.

The MHRSD has yet to release the list of nine Saudi companies that laid off their workers as a result of bankruptcy. But many of the Filipino claimants are construction workers from Saudi Oger, Bin Laden and MMG.

DMW Undersecretary Bernard Olalia and his Saudi counterpart were designated focal persons to resolve issues related to the mechanism on implementing the payout.

Ople said Saudi MHRSD will determine all the Filipino workers who would be eligible to receive unpaid claims, based on the employment records of Saudi companies.

Ople said the Saudi MHRSD will determine all the Filipino claimants eligible to receive unpaid claims based on the employment records of Saudi companies.

Even those who failed to submit their claims at DMW, but whose names are in the registered list of Saudi companies may also be qualified.

Saudi Minister Al-Rajhi will also be coming to Manila to follow up the issue on unpaid claims.

The Saudi government has fast tracked the processing of unpaid claims after the meeting between Saudi Crown Prince and President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Conference Summit in November 2022.

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