MANILA, Sept. 30 (PNA) — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has reported that a total of 11,359 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia have benefited from his departmentâ€™s Relief Assistance Program (RAP).
â€œThe Relief Assistance Program is aimed at facilitating the repatriation of our distressed OFWs and ensuring that they have decent working and living conditions onsite,â€ said Bello.
He said that as of last Sept. 9, a total of PHP305,330,026.76 was disbursed onsite and in the Philippines, which benefited 11,359 distressed OFWs. About 8,779 family beneficiaries of OFWs were also assisted under the program.
He added that through the composite inter-agency teams, distressed OFWs in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Al Khobar were provided with relief and financial assistance, counseling, medical consultation, and legal assistance, among others.
The total number of distressed OFWs in Saudi Arabia who availed of the welfare services rendered by the Augmentation Teams were as follows: 9,874 OFWs were registered in the Assist WELL program and were provided food packs and oriented on OWWAâ€™s Livelihood Program; 5,924 OFWs were profiled for training/competency assessment under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA); 5,757 OFWs were provided with medical, mental health/psychological processing from the Department of Health (DOH); 9,476 OFWs were provided relief assistance and counseling from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); and 4,393 OFWs availed of legal assistance in filing money claims from the Public Attorneyâ€™s Office (PAO).
To ensure the safety and welfare of the remaining displaced OFWs, the labor department recommended that a second batch of Inter-Agency Augmentation Teams be dispatched to Saudi Arabia to support the Philippine Embassy/Consulate General and the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in carrying out the Expanded Relief Assistance Program, protection of money claims, and facilitation of the repatriation of the OFWs in the Middle Eastern country.
Bello led an 18-person delegation from the Department of Labor and Employment last Aug. 15-19, which formed part of the 56-person Composite Philippine Mission (CPM).
Other high-ranking officials of the government who joined the CPM were TESDA director general Guiling Mamondiong, Presidential Adviser on OFWs Abdullah Mama-o, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jesus Yabes, Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III, POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, DSWD Undersecretary Vilma Cabrera, PAO Chief Persida Acosta, and DOH’s Dr. Romeo Bituin. (PNA)