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PIA Press Release

Saudi gov't to set up special department for OFWs

By Minerva BC Newman

Cebu City (12 August) -- The Saudi Arabia government announced recently that it would establish a Special Department that would safeguard the rights of guests and foreign workers and this will be called "the Department of Protection of Domestic Workers."

The Dept. of Labor & Employment (DOLE) revealed this in a recent media interview with Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas here in Cebu. She said, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is becoming more aware and concern with the protection of domestic workers in Saudi who had been allegedly sexually harassed, maltreated and cases of unpaid salaries by their employers.

Under the new policy, a Saudi employer will be banned from hiring domestic workers fro five years, if it is proven that he had committed such abuses against domestic workers, Sto Tomas said.

The Labor Secretary welcomes these developments because this would mean that OFWs in Saudi Arabia who have problems with their employers, could now seek assistance from the nearest Philippine Overseas Labor Office where they can file their complaints against their employers.

Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration showed that Saudi Arabia still remained as the top destination of Filipinos overseas workers for the first quarter of 2005 despite a slight decrease by 4% in the deployment to Saudi for the first three months from 58,355 OFWs to 55,957 during the same period in 2004.

Sto Tomas commented that despite this decrease of deployment, KSA is still the top destination of land-based OFWs as it has traditionally been the top OFW destination in the 70's when it began its massive development projects. Data further showed that OFW deployment to KSA constituted 26% of the 209,293 total numbers of land-based OFWs deployed in various countries during the first quarter of this year. (PIA-Cebu) [top]

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