ON PRESIDENT Duterte’s orders, the Philippine government will be conducting forced repatriation operations involving 11,000 Filipino workers left jobless in Saudi Arabia.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) made the disclosure as Secretary Silvestre Bello III prepared to fly back to the Middle Eastern country on Monday to supervise the repatriation.
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who manage to find new employment there can stay behind, Bello said.
“It will be a forced repatriation. It will be an involuntary repatriation. We cannot afford to let them stay and become a burden to the host country since it will involve feeding thousands of migrant workers and other necessities,” Bello said yesterday.
He said the President even allocated P249 million from his contingency fund to finance the repatriation of the OFWs, who lost their jobs in nine construction firms there.
“He is very precise. Get them back at any cost. That demonstrates the concern of our President for the plight of our migrant workers,” Bello said.
The DOLE chief said the king of Saudi Arabia reportedly offered to pay for the plane fare of the jobless Filipinos.
The Philippine government wants to complete the repatriation process as soon as possible. So far, only 1,700 Filipinos have managed to return home.