THE LABOR department is considering a temporary suspension on the deployment of Filipino workers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to compel its government to intervene in the repatriation of the two remaining Filipinos allegedly abused by a retired Saudi general.   

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III “is weighing the options,” said Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Information and Publication Service Director Raul M. Francia in a news briefing Wednesday.   

He added that the Labor chief “is giving more time for our POLO (Philippine Overseas Labor Office) and the diplomatic channels to convince the Saudi employer to turn over the remaining OFWs (overseas Filipino workers).”    

The cases of physical abuse and non-payment of salaries involving a retired general who is allegedly “a close ally of a Saudi Prince” were raised to the POLO in Saudi Arabia in 2018, wherein 16 OFWs were involved.   

Of the 16 OFWs, eight were repatriated before August this year, five on Sept. 1, and one on Tuesday. The remaining two are still at the residence of the retired general as of Wednesday. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago  

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