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Legarda Calls for Concrete Integration Program for OFWs Likely to be Affected by ‘Saudization’

July 1, 2011

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA IS SEEKING CONCRETE GOVERNMENT ACTION IN LIGHT OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE SAUDI LABOR MINISTRY OF ITS PLANS TO PHASE OUT UNSKILLED FOREIGN WORKERS FROM THE KINGDOM AND REPLACE THEM WITH SAUDIS. NEW RULES AND REGULATIONS ARE REPORTEDLY BEING FINALIZED AS PART OF THE “SAUDIZATION” PROCESS.
“We cannot sit idly by and wait for the mass termination and deportation of our workers from Saudi Arabia,” Legarda said.
“I am alarmed that Secretary of Labor Rosalinda Baldoz, based on news reports, has taken this issue lightly and even dismissed the impending dismissal of at least 90,000 Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia as ‘no cause for undue worry.’ That number represents about 10% of Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia,” she stressed.
“We cannot afford not to be worried. The Migrant Workers Act mandates our government agencies to be always on their toes in the service of our more than eight million Filipinos overseas. Government needs to roll out its contingency measures for our ‘kababayans’ who may be affected by these developments. In the long-haul however, we need a resilient economy that can offer options for the return and reintegration of our overseas Filipinos,” the Senator added.
Last April 7, Legarda filed Senate Resolution 443, calling on the Department of Foreign Affairs to undertake efforts for the convening of the Philippines-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission and to look into the issues facing Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, particularly as the Saudi government, as early as March 12, 2011, already advised the Philippine government of the temporary suspension in the processing and verification of applications by Filipino domestic workers.