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147 OFW KSA-Amnesty Availees Repatriated

May 20, 2017

147 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Riyadh, who availed of the “Nation Without Violations”, or the 90-day Amnesty Program offered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia returned home today, as deadline for the said amnesty program ends in June, 2017. The program started on 29 March 2017.

 

Airport and other relevant assistance were extended to repatriates when they arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) via Philippine Airlines flight PR 655 at 10:00 o’clock in the morning. Top government officials led by Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, along with Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Chief Hans Leo J. Cacdac, welcomed the Filipino migrant workers upon arrival at the airport.

 

The 147 returnees is part of the expected 5,000 OFWs who took the opportunity to come home, minus the `penalty’ imposed to ‘offenders’ after the 90-day grace period by the ‘host country’. Qualified to avail of the program include residents whose iqama expired on or before 19 March 2017; workers with work permit but no iqama or ID card; run away workers reported as such on or before 19 March 2017; Umrah and Haj overstayers (pilgrimage); pilgrims without Haj permit; and ‘infiltrators’ crossing Saudi borders.

 

So far, approximately 4,000 OFWs have registered and are due to arrive within the next days, one batch after another. Throughout the implementation of the 90-day KSA Amnesty Program, OWWA will be on a 24-hours round-the-clock standby through its 24/7 Operation Center (OPCEN) and by the OWWA Augmentation Team which was activated for the purpose. Early on, the Philippine government sent an Augmentation Team in KSA in March this year, headed by Secretary Bello, to assist OFWs who availed of the program.

 

Post-repatriation services were accorded to the repatriated workers that include temporary shelter at the OWWA Halfway Home to those living in the National Capital Region or nearby areas; provision of transportation fare for the workers’ onward travel to their respective provinces; psycho-social counseling, reintegration program offered thru OWWA’s ‘Balik- Pinas! Balik- Hanapbuhay! Livelihood assistance or the “Balik Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay! Livelihood program under the National Reintegration Center for OFWs or NRCO; overseas and in-country job referrals to those who intend to get employed; as well as legal assistance by POEA/NLRC.

 

“We continue to extend assistance to OFWs at all times, and without let-up. Our personnel are well-trained to assist them even beyond the usual working hours. Our mantra, speaks well of our commitment to serve the clients in the hour of their needs,” OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac said.

 

A total of 250 OFWs will arrive today, with the following schedules:

 

            35 OFWs from Jeddah - PR 663 at 7:10 AM

 

            147 OFWs from Riyadh - PR 655 at 10:00 AM

 

            49 OFWs from Riyadh - Cebu Pacific 5J741 at 3:30 PM

 

            19 OFWs from Jeddah - Oman Air WY 843 at 9:50 PM