NAIA Terminal II, Pasay City
August 31, 2016

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte welcomed 129 returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) after years of being stranded in Al Khobar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The OFWs arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 where the President himself met them and where he expressed the government’s readiness to extend assistance to compensate for the difficulties they experienced working abroad.

In his speech, President Duterte said that he is relieved seeing them finally home following their claims of unpaid salaries, benefits and allowances from their respective companies in Saudi.

Since the OFWs will stay for good in the country, the President said that the government would create jobs that will suit them and provide for the needs of their family so that they would not feel the need to work overseas again. The President just asked them to give him time to boost the growth of the Philippine economy.

“We are not so bad naman, ang ekonomiya natin. Maghintay-hintay lang kayo. Bigyan ninyo lang ako ng kaunting panahon, aayusin ko lang ang ekonomiya natin. At nang may opportunity for you to work here,” he promised.

If things do not work out, President Duterte told them not to hesitate to call him in times of their needs, assuring he is ready to help them. He said that he would enroll them under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) until such time that they can provide for themselves and their families.

Moreover, to ensure the education of their children, the President vowed that he would take care of the expenses they might need from elementary up to college saying, “Even if you’re here now, jobless, the education of your children will continue. I will pay. Walang problema.”

As a start-up, President Duterte gave PhP 5,000 each to the repatriated OFWs as financial assistance, aside from the PhP 20,000 and PhP 6,000 being distributed to them by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

On the other hand, President Duterte ordered a one-stop shop for OFWs for the processing of all documents needed before working abroad. He wanted to eliminate long queuing to save people’s time and energy.

As of the moment, there are still thousands of Filipinos stranded in Saudi Arabia, but President Duterte said that there is a Philippine delegation sent there for the fast tracking of the repatriation process.

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