DFA chief seeks reprieve for Saudi OFWs

MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario will go to Saudi Arabia to ask the kingdom to extend a 3-month reprieve granted to undocumented Filipino workers.

He said an extension is needed to allow the Philippine government to work on the documents to legalize the stay of qualified overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and bring home the others.

Del Rosario said the delay in the repatriation of some OFWs is caused by the lack of documents from the workers.

The Philippine Embassy in Saudi Arabia is trying to find the OFWs’ employers who also need to be asked to issue a “No Objection Certificate.”

“It’s not so easy to repatriate because it is not a matter of money. We can pay for the airfare, we can pay for whatever needs they have to be able to get them out but there is a process to be followed,” the DFA chief explained.

He said the Philippine Embassy also wants to rent another place that can house at least 500 people for the OFWs who are camping out beside the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah.

“We’re working, hopefully by this weekend, we’ll have another 500 capacity or nearly 1,000,” del Rosario said.

“Even as we have this facility for 500, several facilities, only 20 have availed of it because they prefer to be out there to make a statement.”