The temporary suspension on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has been lifted with an assurance that they would not be shouldering the cost of pandemic protocol requirements.
In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to immediately “provide the necessary clearance to all our departing Filipino workers to facilitate their travel to the KSA.”
Olalia added DOLE was only prompted to impose the suspension to protect OFWs as they received reports of violations of the POEA memorandum in KSA.
With this recent update, Philippine Airlines (PAL) resumed accepting OFWs on its flights to Dammam and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. PAL said OFWs who were unable to board their flights to Dammam and Riyadh due to the earlier prohibition may rebook their flights with rebooking service fees waived.
Last Friday, May 28, PAL was not able to accept 283 OFW passengers in its flight PR5654 from Manila to Riyadh and 120 passengers in its flight PR5682 from Manila to Dammam following a Philippine government directive temporarily suspending the deployment of OFWs to the KSA until further notice.
The airline said it did not receive official advice from the government regarding the prohibition on the entry into Saudi Arabia of OFWs, resulting in 403 OFW passengers being denied to board their flights.
With additional Reports: The Philippine Star, Sheila Crisostomo, Richmond Mercurio
Photo Sources: rappler.com, news.abs-cbn.com