Pinoy OFWs in Riyadh in Deep Trouble

Forty eight distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) employed as household service workers in Riyadh were repatriated after deciding to finally leave their jobs in the Middle East.

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Carmelita S. Dimzon said that the workers left their jobs for various reasons, majority reported conflicts with their employers due to bad working conditions and terms of employment, as well as distress due to maltreatment and abuse.

Some of the returning workers complained of physical and sexual abuse, while others reported that their employers did not pay them the salaries agreed upon. Still others said they were forced to work beyond the stipulated working hours, not fed properly or were left hungry for several days.

The batch arrived from Riyadh at 11 a.m. via Gulf Air flight GF 154. The cost of the repatriation was shouldered by OWWA.

Most of workers carried only travel documents issued by the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh because they could not retrieve their passports. Employers are known to hold on to the passports of their expatriate workers as a measure to prevent them from switching to other employers or workplaces, she said.

OWWA staff from the Repatriation and Assistance Division and other units assisted the returning workers at OWWA Center in Pasay City to address concerns such as onward transportation arrangements to their home provinces, temporary stay at the Halfway House, as well as documentation and other required paperwork for those who intend to file formal complaints against their employers or erring labor recruiters. (PNA)

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