DAVAO CITY April 17 (PIA)- About 331 undocumented Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who availed of amnesty in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were given assistance by the different agencies of the government.
The amnesty program was offered by the Kingdom and dubbed as “Nation without Violations.”
Coverage of the amnesty extends to residents whose Iqama (residence permit) expired on or before March 19, 2017, Workers with work permit but no iqama ID card, Runaway workers reported as such on or before March 19, 2017, Umraj and Haj overstayer (pilgrimage), Pilgrims without Haj permit, Infiltrators crossing Saudi borders.
Different government agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) assisted the amnesty availees.
The first batch of 31 OFWs arrived in Manila last April 11, 2017, another batch of 105 OFWs came last April 16, 2017 and the third batch of 150 availees arrived with President Rodrigo Duterte when he returned after his Middle East visit.
The number of amnesty availees is expected to be at 5,000 OFWs.
The availees were given airport assistance, post-repatriation services, psychological counseling, medical referral, transport services for their return to respective provinces.
The OFWs who arrived with the President received P10,000 each. P5,000 came from President Duterte while P5,000 came from OWWA.
A non-cash livelihood starter kit worth P10,000 can be availed by repatriated OWWA members while non-OWWA members are referred to a non-cash training and livelihood program.
The repatriated OFWs can also avail of the DOLE Assist Well (Welfare, Employment, Legal and Livelihood) program. These entitles them to job referral or international placement made by the Bureau of Local Employment or the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
Among the services given to them include competency assessment and training assistance by TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), legal assistance or conciliation services by the POEA, DOLE and the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). (PIA/RG Alama)