- Labor secretary Silvestre Bello III said they are considering to stop sending OFWs to Saudi Arabia if cases of maltreatment continue
- Saudi Arabia is the top destination of OFWs
- This is also where there are many cases of abuses of Filipino migrant workers
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they are eyeing to stop sending overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia.
Bello made this statement during President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on April 12.
“(It is) under consideration, unless we are assured of the protection of our OFW,” the labor secretary said in a video uploaded by ABS-CBN.
Saudi Arabia is the top destination of Filipino migrant workers with over 24.7% of the total OFW population working there.
Incidentally, this is also where most number of abused OFWs come from. Abuses come in the form of physical maltreatment, sexual exploitation and sometimes failure to pay a worker’s salary.
During Duterte’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the Philippine government forged an agreement with the kingdom’s ministry of labor.
“This agreement refers to the labor standards that provides our OFWs better wages, protection from maltreatment, working hours and other labor issues,” said Bello.
Duterte also had a dialogue with OFWs there. The dialogue became an opportunity for the workers to air their concerns to the government, including the creation of a department intended for migrant workers. Duterte got an overwhelming support from Saudi OFWs during the last elections as he got 75% of the votes there.