MANILA – Five returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) met with Sen. Cynthia Villar on Tuesday to receive medical and livelihood assistance.
The OFWs have been waiting for repatriation for three years, after the contracting company Mohammad Al Mojil Group (MMG) suffered financial problems. Since then, the company was unable to pay their salaries.
Accompanied by their wives, the OFWs were welcomed by Villar at the Senate and received a start-up set for a sari-sari store, as well as referral to Las Pinas General Hospital so they can have the proper medical attention they need.
The repatriated OFWs were Rodrigo Santiago Jr., 45, of Sta. Maria, Bulacan, who was diagnosed with acute pericarditis; Oscar Penaflor, 64, of Limay, Bataan, diagnosed with hypertension; Rolando Palao, 55, of North Fairview, Quezon City, who has spondylosis; Arturo Layson, 59, of Limay, Bataan, who has a heart condition; and Manolito Toston, 44, of Talugtug, Nueva Ecija, who has congestive heart failure.
The OFWs were among the more than 500 OFWs stranded in MMG-operated campsites since 2013. In September last year, Jonathan Basi, Jimmy Wuthrich, Guillermo Recomio and Roque Capistrano, also among the stranded OFWs, asked the help of Villar for the repatriation of the others.
Villar, also director of Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governace), has called the attention of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to attend to the needs of the stranded OFWs, especially those who are in need of medical attention.
“The assistance we are extending to distressed OFWs is a simple way of helping them start anew right here at home. I know the loss of jobs coupled with sickness makes it more difficult to provide for their families. We assure you that we will continue to work with the proper government agencies to expedite the repatriation of all the stranded OFWs,” she said.
Villar noted that the Saudization policy which was implemented to give full priority to Saudi nationals in job hiring, has affected thousands of Filipinos working in the Kingdom. The falling prices of petroleum products has also caused Saudi companies to reduce manpower requirements. PNA/ www.northboundasia.com