Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario has assured undocumented OFWs in Saudi Arabia that his department will use all means to help them go home or find better opportunities in the Kingdom.
Del Rosario paid a one-day visit to the Kingdom on Sunday to monitor the conditions of undocumented OFWs and met with representatives from different Saudi government agencies to explore all avenues to assist the OFWs.
He also met undocumented OFWs and listened to their grievances.
In an interview with Saudi Gazette, Del Rosario said his department was studying all possible options to resolve the workers’ problems before the recently extended deadline for them to rectify their status expires.
He said: "That is what we are here for. We are trying to get assurance and we are trying to find out exactly what other assistance we can provide.
“We are looking to see if I can come back within one or two weeks’ time so I can meet with the Saudi foreign minister just to show him that it’s going to be a stretch for us to be able to meet the Nov. 3 deadline and accomplish the objectives of our people here.”
The secretary added that he would see if he could still get more support from the Saudi authorities.
Although there are lots of undocumented workers who want to go home, Del Rosario said, there are also others who still want to find better opportunities in the Kingdom.
“There are many who have taken this opportunity to find new employers so we are trying to make sure that we are able to provide the assistance to give them the documents needed for their employment,” he said.
Del Rosario also said that his department would search for better facilities to house those who are staying in a makeshift camp while their travel documents are being processed.
Filipino community groups in Jeddah said they hoped the Department of Foreign Affairs’ plans to resolve the current problems faced by undocumented OFWs in Saudi Arabia would succeed.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.