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Wed 18 Dec 2019 10:06 AM

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The Philippines to cut the number of citizens sent to work in Saudi Arabia

A senior government minister said some workers had not been paid since April

The Philippines to cut the number of citizens sent to work in Saudi Arabia
Filipina workers returning home from Kuwait arrive at Manila International Airport on February 18 2018. AFP PHOTO NOEL CELIS / AFP Getty Images. Image for illustrative purposes only.

The Philippines plans to reduce the number of citizens it sends to Saudi Arabia next year, over concerns of a lack of action to address the plight of overseas workers in the kingdom who have not been paid their salaries since April, according to a report by the state-owned Philippine News Agency (PNA).

"We plan to scale down our deployment to Saudi Arabia starting next year. This will be the first time, at least during my term," Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III said at a press conference in Manila on Tuesday, according to the report.

Bello said some Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia had not been paid their salaries since April.

"The purpose of the scaling down is to call the attention of the Saudi Government to what we consider as the slow action on the plight of workers. We have yet to see the result of Saudi intervention," he added.

"We will not issue OECs (Overseas Employment Certificate) to new deployments. The matter of balik-manggagawas (returning OFWs) will be on a case-to-case basis. This is not a ban, just a scaling down (of deployment)," he noted.

The report said around 2.3 million OFWs are currently resident in Saudi Arabia.

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