Malacanang team arrives in KSA, sends home distressed Filipinos
Philippine delegation now in KSA arrives; sends home 347 OFWs
MANILA – The four-man team led by Presidential Adviser on Foreign Affairs Robert E. A. Borje, sent by President Rodrigo Duterte to Saudi Arabia arrived Saturday at King Khalid International Airport where they were met by Deputy Minister for Protocol Affairs H. E. Kahlid Al Sahli.
The official visit to the oil-rich country hopes to further enhance diplomatic relations, advance labor reform cooperation and ensuring the welfare of the nearly 900,000 Filipinos, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, 347 distressed Filipinos, including five children left for Manila.
Undersecretary Borje was accompanied by DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Ysmael Arriola, Asst. Secretary Enrico Fos and PCOO Asst. Secretary JV Arcena.
He also expressed his gratitude to the Embassy in Riyadh, Consulate General in Jeddah, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“This repatriation required a lot of work and coordination given the pandemic situation,” Undersecretary Borje said.
The repatriates flew home via a Philippine Air Lines chartered flight as part of the government’s repatriation mission from Saudi Arabia. A second repatriation flight is expected next week. They are bound to receive cash assistance of P10,000 each from the Philippine government.
Undersecretary Borje expressed his appreciation for His Majesty, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s (The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques) and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud for making the repatriation possible.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Arriola, PCOO Asst. Secretary for Global Media and Public Affairs JV Arcena and Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto attended the repatriation.
The DFA said as of June 18,2021, 403,234 Overseas Filipinos have been repatriated by the Philippine government. From the total number, 105,582 were seafarers and 297,652 were land-based overseas Filipinos.
About half of the 865,721 Filipinos in the oil rich country are domestic laborers while the others are employed in the construction, outsourcing and healthcare sectors. (Melo M. Acuña)
Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister for Protocol Kahlid Al Sahli, second from right, meets Presidential Adviser on Foreign Affairs Robert E. A. Borje upon arrival at the King Khalid International Airport. (DFA/PCOO Photo)