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DOLE ready to evacuate OFWs in Saudi Arabia – Bello

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By Gabriela Baron

Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Tuesday that the government is ready to repatriate about 50,000 Filipino workers from areas affected by the weekend bombing of oil plants in Saudi Arabia if the condition continues to worsen.

Smoke billows from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq about 60km (37 miles) southwest of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia's eastern province on September 14, 2019. - Drone attacks sparked fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities early today, the interior ministry said, in the latest assault on the state-owned energy giant as it prepares for a much-anticipated stock listing. Yemen's Iran-aligned Huthi rebels claimed the drone attacks, according to the group's Al-Masirah television. (Photo by - / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Smoke billows from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq about 60km (37 miles) southwest of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province on September 14, 2019. – Drone attacks sparked fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities.  (Photo by – / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The labor department is still assessing the possible implications on the safety and security of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs),” Bello said in a statement.

He added that the government is monitoring the developments in the area.

The Labor secretary assured that there was no Filipino casualty in the bombing attacks.

“So far, no reports of OFWs injured or negatively affected by the attack and no work disruption was reported.

“Our Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in Al Khobar, Riyadh, and Dammam are also on top of the situation to check on the condition of our OFWs,” he added.

Bello said DOLE is in close coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Saudi Arabia is the largest oil exporter and is among the top destination countries for OFWs with 24.4 percent of the total 2.3 million OFWs worldwide, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

On Saturday, drones struck two oil installations in Saudi Arabia, damaging facilities and risking disruption in world oil supplies.

READ MORE: Contingency plans urged after drone attack of Saudi oil facilities

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