The Philippine government temporarily suspends deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers to Saudi Arabia until further notice. As a result, hundreds of OFWs bound for Saudi Arabia on Friday were stranded at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport(NAIA).
Reports said that a memorandum issued by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III instructed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to temporarily suspend the deployment of OFWs to Saudi Arabia.
The instruction of Secretary Bello was relayed following reports that “departing OFWs are being required by their employers/foreign recruitment agencies to shoulder the costs of the health and safety protocol for COVID-19 and insurance coverage premium upon their entry in the Kingdom.”
An official statement from the labor department on the resumption of deployment to Saudi Arabia will be issued after the matter has been clarified, reports said.
Outgoing OFWs at the airport were caught flatfooted when airlines denied them for check-in at the counter.
Many of the OFWs does not know what to do because they don’t reside in Metro Manila and do not have enough money for added expenses due to the delay.
Secretary Bello said earlier that OFWs who have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines from China are allowed to enter Saudi Arabia but will still undergo quarantine once they arrive in the host country.
The Labor Secretary’s statement came following social media posts claiming that Riyadh will not allow entry of travelers inoculated with China-made vaccines such as Sinopharm and Sinovac.