MANILA – The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) will repatriate some 500 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) staying in different shelters run by the Philippine government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
During the Laging Handa public briefing on Thursday, DMW Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac said these OFWs, mostly domestic workers, need help.
Cacdac said DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople visited these shelters during her stay in KSA and talked with the OFWs.
“At any given time, sa shelters natin may mga 500 OFWs -- Kingdom-wide, the three areas where we are at present. So, at least 500 in the shelters na kailangang tulungan, karamihan mga OFW kasambahay. At ito ang pinakamalaking source of worry ni Secretary Toots. Dinalaw niya lahat ng shelters at kinausap niya iyong mga OFWs doon (in our shelters there are about 500 OFWs -- Kingdom-wide, the three areas where we are at present. So, at least 500 in the shelters that need help, mostly OFW household workers. And this is Secretary Toots' biggest source of worry. She visited all the shelters and talked to the OFWs there),” Cacdac said.
Immediately after the visit, Ople ordered to improve the facilities in the shelters such as ventilation and food, among others.
Cacdac said the DMW chief is now working on bringing these distressed OFWs home.
“Kaya isa sa mga tinake-up ni Secretary Toots and Minister Al Rajhi is, dapat bigyang-daan iyong pagpapauwi ng isang OFW na may reklamo sa kaniyang kontrata at may reklamo ng pang-aabuso para siya ay makauwi. Dahil wala sinuman ang makakapilit sa isang tao na magtrabaho lalo na sa isang bansa dahil slavery na iyon. Slavery na iyon kung hindi pa siya pinauuwi at gusto na niyang umuwi at ayaw na niyang magtrabaho doon (So one of the things being taken up by Secretary Toots and Minister Al Rajhi, is to allow the repatriation of an OFW who has a complaint about his or her contract and those who have complaint of abuse so that they can go home. No one can force a person to work especially in another country because that is slavery. That is slavery if they no longer want to work there but is not allowed to go home),” he said.
Meanwhile, Cacdac reminded those who are seeking to work abroad to be cautious of fake recruitment agencies so as not to end up as victims of human traffickers.
“Mag-ingat. Make sure na sa lisensiyadong recruitment agency kayo dumadaan, lisensiyado ng Department of Migrant Workers at ng POEA [Philippine Overseas Employment Agency] at iyong principal ninyo, foreign employer ay accredited din sa talaan ng Department of Migrant Workers at ng POEA. Ang hotline natin, 1348, dumulog lang po kayo doon. Maging matalino, huwag magpaloko, huwag papatol sa illegal recruiter at human trafficker (Beware. Make sure that you go through a licensed recruitment agency, licensed by the Department of Migrant Workers and the POEA [Philippine Overseas Employment Agency] and your principal, foreign employer is also accredited in the records of the Department of Migrant Workers and the POEA. Our hotline is 1348, just go there. Be smart, don't be fooled, don't fall for illegal recruiters and human traffickers),” he said. (PNA)