Funds for unpaid Saudi OFWs already in place - DMW

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 26) — The Saudi government has already earmarked funds for unpaid wages of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) formerly employed by companies that went bankrupt, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said Friday.

"Malinaw at damang dama namin 'yung commitment ng Saudi Arabia. Significant progress na ang nakamit namin," DMW Secretary Susan Ople assured claimants during a press conference.

[Translation: We clearly and deeply felt the commitment of Saudi Arabia. We have achieved significant progress.]

Ople said they no longer asked about the total amount but Minister Ahmed bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi, who heads the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, confirmed to them that it now rests with Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance

The funds are sufficient to pay all outstanding claims — including those of their own people, the secretary added.

"The payment will be made. The payment is now allocated, 'yun pong full amount (the full amount) is already allocated and with the Ministry of Finance," DMW Undersecretary Bernard Olalia also said.

In 2022, the government of Saudi Arabia committed to shoulder the unpaid salaries of around 10,000 displaced OFWs from companies that went bankrupt in 2015 to 2016, during a the slowdown in the Kingdom's construction sector.

READ: DMW expects to fully resolve issue of unpaid OFWs in Saudi Arabia this year

The processing of claims has been slow because the Saudi government had to wait for the liquidation of assets of bankrupt companies, Olalia explained.

Meanwhile, during their meeting, Ople said the Saudi government requested for more time before releasing the claims to validate the names with their employment records.

READ: DMW receives over 7.5K emails from unpaid Saudi OFW claimants

"Hiling lang nila ay konti pang oras para matiyak nila na nasa tamang proseso at legalidad ang pagkuha ng claims," the secretary added.

[Translation: They just asked for a little more time so that they can make sure that the right and legal process is followed].

Ople said the Saudi government vowed to update them in the coming months regarding the status of the unpaid claims.

"They said that by next month, which is June, they may be able to give us more details. If not June, at least in the coming months," she added.