Migrante: At least 50,000 OFWs stand to lose jobs

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According to one Filipino, OFWs have been losing jobs since October.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Migrante party-list, a group supporting the rights of overseas Filipino workers (OFW), warned Wednesday (February 17) that at least 50,000 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia will be out of jobs by March, as a result of the ongoing oil crisis in the Middle East.

The drop in prices has taken a toll on the Saudi government’s budget, since most of its wealth comes from oil production.

Also read: Saudi Arabia severs ties with Iran as Mideast protests rage

OFWs losing their jobs have been commonplace since October, said Rodel Perciana, an electrical foreman who was retrenched from his job in Saudi last December.

Also read: Oil prices volatile after Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Iran

“Stop work ang mga kasamahan doon, pati sa Bin Laden at sa Saudi Oger,” he said.

[Translation: “There has been a Stop Work Order in my company, as well as in Bin Laden and Saudi Oger.”]

Bin Laden Co. and Saudi Oger Ltd., are two of the biggest contractors hired by the government for construction projects.

Perciana said most unemployed Filipinos in Saudi cannot leave because they are still waiting for their end-of-contract benefits.

Others have filed cases against their companies for non-payment of wages and other labor violations.

Migrante is appealing for the government’s help in extending OFWs’ work permits, as well as acquiring the benefits they are due.

“Malinaw na krisis na ito. Ano ba pamantayan ng krisis? Dapat bang may mamatay pa?” said Garry Martinez of Migrante.

[Translation: “This is clearly a crisis. Does someone have to die for this situation to qualify as a crisis?”]

The Department of Labor and Employment said it can help with extending work permits, depending on the status of the worker. It also vowed to assist workers in securing employment benefits.

According to the government, livelihood programs and alternative jobs also await OFWs who choose to come home.

Also read: Malacañang: Contingency plans in place for OFWs in Middle East

Related: Slump in oil prices doing more harm than good?