Filipino workers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Photo courtesy of POLO-Jeddah)

MANILA – The labor department has launched a mobile service to address the growing needs of migrant Filipino workers in Al Khobar and other areas in the eastern region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Labor Attaché Hector Cruz, Jr. of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) – Al Khobar said the POLO-on-wheels will provide consular, welfare, and documentary needs of Filipino workers.

Cruz said the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs also authorized the POLO to maintain a hotel-like shelter in the outskirt of the city to house distressed Filipino workers and those awaiting repatriation.

The Department of Labor and Employment has regular POLO offices in Riyadh and Jeddah.

“We are proud to report that we have been allowed by the ministry to have our POLO-on-wheels and accept public services three times a week. This is great news because for our workers, instead of travelling for about 430 kilometers to our POLO in Riyadh, we can already attend to their needs anywhere in the eastern region,” Cruz said in a news release on Sunday.

Cruz said the mobile POLO will be rolled out this week, with various services such as transfer of employment, repatriation, and assistance for those who have problems with their jobs or employers.

“While we have been allowed to operate our POLO-on-wheels, the government had also set some guidelines which we will strictly follow, such as we cannot operate on commercial districts,” DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.

POLO records show there are about 230,000 Filipinos in the eastern region of the Kingdom, with around 215,000 documented workers, their dependents, and some migrants.

They are mostly in the industry of oil exploration and drilling, while some are in service-oriented sectors such as cafés and restaurants and in the maintenance services sector.

“We will now be doing our outreach program on a regular basis through our POLO-on-wheels project. Our staff will now be the one to come to serve and provide the services that our countrymen need,” Cruz said. (PR)