Airport and other relevant assistance will be extended to thirty-one (31) overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who availed of the 90-day Amnesty Program offered by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), as the OFWs returned home today, Tuesday, 11 April 2017, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), via Philippine Airlines flight PR 663 at 7:00 o’clock in the morning.
This 25 batch of repatriated Filipino migrant workers is part of the expected 5,000 OFWs who took the opportunity to come home ‘minus’ the penalty implemented within the 90-day grace period by the ‘host country’, due to various reasons cited as follows: residents whose iqama expired on or before 19 March 2017; workers with work permit but no iqama ID card; run away workers reported as such on or before 19 March 2017; Umrah and Haj over stayers (pilgrimage); pilgrims without Haj permit; and ‘infiltrators’ crossing Saudi borders.
Aside from airport assistance, the distressed workers will receive post repatriation services that include temporary shelter at the OWWA halfway home; psycho-social counseling/stress debriefing; medical referral; provision of transport services or fare for their onward travel to their respective provinces.
“The Philippine Embassy and Philippine Overseas Labor Officials, made arrangements to process the OFWs’ registration and documentation prior to their travel exit. As this happens, OWWA Manila will take the next step from the airport to their travel to their respective destinations,” OWWA Officer-in-Charge Josefino I. Torres said.
Other options for displaced OWWA members are the “Balik-Pinas! Balik-Hanapbuhay! Program, a non-cash livelihood package worth P10,000.00 where they will be provided with a ‘starter kit’ ; Referral to TESDA’s Reintegration Program for OFWs where returning workers and one of their family members are given slots in the free training skills either for wage or self-employment, assessment and certification, jobs referral and employment assistance.
OIC Torres added that the DOLE Assist WELL Program for welfare, employment, legal, livelihood, are open for distressed OFWs’ stress-debriefing or counseling by OWWA; local employment referral or job placement by the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE); overseas employment referral or placement by POEA; livelihood assistance by OWWA and NRCO; legal assistance or conciliation services by POEA, DOLE Regional Offices and Regional Coordinating Centers, and competency assessment and training assistance by TESDA.
Meanwhile, non-OWWA members are referred to NRCO’s Balik-Pinay!, Balik-Hanapbuhay! Livelihood Program, a non-cash training and livelihood program for undocumented OFWs.
Throughout the implementation of the program, the OWWA Repatriation Team will be on standby for the batches of returning workers who availed of KSA’s “Nation Without Violations’ 90-Day Amnesty Program.