By Tara Yap
Iloilo City – A total of P120,000 was released to former Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWS) from Western Visayas who took advantage of Saudi Arabia’s amnesty program.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), an attached agency of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), released the financial aid to 24 former workers in Saudi Arabia who recently came back to the country. James Mendiola, acting OWWA chief, said this is under OWWA’s Cash Relief (CARE) program that aims to help ease the workers’ burden of losing their jobs in Saudi Arabia for allegedly overstaying in that country.
Recently repatriated former OFWs were recently cited by DOLE as one of the reasons why employment rate in Western Visayas has dropped.
DOLE Assistant Regional Director Salome Siaton said many Filipinos working in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, lost their jobs after they were retrenched following a drop in global oil prices.
Citing the Labor Force Survey conducted by Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Siaton said employment rate declined by 1.2 percentage points from 95.2 percent last year.
The unemployment rate rose to 6 percent from 4.8 percent.