The Department of Labor and Employment has suspended the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that were just hired for Saudi Arabia. This comes on the heels of reports alleging abuse by a retired general.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III issued a “very urgent” memorandum directing all Saudi Arabia-based Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) to stop verifying newly hired OFWs.
The order was to be “effective immediately, pending the issuance of the new guidelines” by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
According to Bello, a “new order shall be issued for the resumption of the processing of the above documents once the new guidelines has been finalized and fully implemented.”
The suspension, he said in an interview, came after reports of multiple Filipino OFWs being abused verbally and physically.
All of them were under the employ of Ayed Thawah Al Jealid, a retired general.
“General Ayed was able to circumvent POLO rules on verification by placing in the employment contract a pseudo employer,” Bello said, “when in fact he was the real employer.”
“[In order to] avoid this situation wherein the OFW will be assigned to an employer who is previously blacklisted, the new verification guidelines will require that the exact address of the employer’s house in (Saudi Arabia) will be stated in the employment contract.”
Photo: Reuters/Eloisa Lopez