More than 10,000 overseas Filipino workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who were displaced by the oil crisis in the Middle East have benefitted from the government’s Relief Assistance Program (RAP).
RAP is a one-time grant of financial assistance provided to each qualified affected OFW who are either staying in camps or are live-out in KSA or who have been repatriated to the Philippines but have not received their salaries or end-of-service benefits from previous employers.
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, citing a report from the International Labor Affairs Bureau, said a total of 10,501 displaced OFWs were assisted through on-site RAP, while 18,626 OFWs already repatriated in the Philippines have benefitted from local RAP disbursements through the regional offices of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
“These figures accounted a total of P469,888,031.06 disbursements, which were released on-site and locally,” said Bello.
He added that the biggest chunk of beneficiaries came from three major cities of KSA, namely Jeddah with 4,938, followed by Riyadh with 4,334, and Al Khobar, with 1,229 workers.
These workers, according to Bello, received cash assistance of P26,000 each, with P20,000 given to OFWs and the remaining P6,000 goes to their respective families in the Philippines.
Among the companies that previously employed the affected OFWs were the Mohammad Al Mojil Group (MMG), Saudi Bin Ladin, Saudi Oger, FAWZI, Arabtech, MHM & Bros, Rakan Trading, ETE Company, SAAD, Alumco, and SRACO.
Meanwhile, as of December 7, the total number of repatriated OFWs from KSA has totaled to 3,776.
“This was made possible by our Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar, together with the agencies involved in the repatriation efforts of the Philippine government,” Bello said.
It can be recalled that early in August, the DOLE Secretary led the Department’s delegation which formed part of the Philippine government’s Composite Philippine Mission (CPM) dubbed “Bring them Home” mission.
The inter-agency mission is a convergence program which aims to bring home around 11,000 stranded and overstaying OFWs who were laid off due to the continued slump in oil prices in the Middle East.
The agencies involved in the repatriation mission were the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).