By Roy Mabasa
A top Saudi government labor official has assured the Philippine government of assistance for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with labor problems.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Bin Ahmed Al-Tawi, director general of the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Makkah Region, assured Philippine Consul General in Jeddah Edgar Badajos of the ministry’s support and cooperation in helping OFWs, including household service workers (HSW), with labor problems in the Kingdom.
The director general gave the assurance when Badajos called on him on April 15 at the Ministry of Labor office in Jeddah.
According to the director general, a new facility to serve as a temporary shelter for HSWs awaiting repatriation is scheduled for completion.
As this developed, the Philippine Consulate General and Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO)-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Jeddah were able to rescue two Filipino HSWs in Najran and Al Baha regions in the southwest of Saudi Arabia with the assistance of concerned members of the Filipino community.
The DFA said a rescue team from the Consulate General successfully negotiated the issuance of the final exit visa of the household service worker who ran away from her employer in Najran located about 860 kilometers from Jeddah.
The DFA said a Filipino community leader in the area initially coordinated her concerns with the local police and provided her with temporary shelter until Consulate General personnel arrived and finalized an agreement with the concerned employer.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Jeddah went to Baljurasi, Al Baha Region which is about 390 kilometers from Jeddah and also took custody of another runaway worker. Filipinos working in a local hospital provided the worker with temporary shelter and later alerted the Consulate General about her plight.