By Marita Moaje

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Department of Migrant Workers is expecting more payout and encashment of checks for displaced Saudi Arabia overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with unpaid wages in the coming weeks.

In a press release on Friday, DMW officer-in-charge Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac said about 300 checks from the first group of checks distributed by the Saudi government are due to clear in the next few weeks. 

In addition to this, another tranche of 400 checks is expected to be distributed within the next month.

Cacdac said this will bring the number of Saudi OFW claimants’ checks distributed for payout and encashment to about 1,500, including the 843 claimants who have already encashed their checks. 

“This is just the start of what we see as a deliberate process of distribution of claimants’ checks and encashment resulting into the full payout of each of our displaced OFW’s unpaid claims and other benefits,” Cacdac said. 

Over 10,000 OFWs in Saudi Arabia were left jobless when Saudi construction companies declared bankruptcy between 2015 and 2016.

In the third quarter of 2023, the DMW submitted to Saudi authorities a list of 10,554 displaced Saudi OFW claimants with verified iqamas or residence permits, which is required of foreign nationals so they can live and work in Saudi Arabia. 

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., in a video posted on Facebook, reported that 1,104 claimants already received checks from Saudi-based Alinma Bank.

The claimants were assisted by the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank) and the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) by allowing them to open accounts where they could deposit the claims checks and receive their cash payouts. 

However, Cacdac said more needs to be done to help the claimants receive what is due them.

An example, he said, are the heirs of claimants who have passed away, and those who have problems with name discrepancies in their real names and the names written on the checks.

He, however, assured that the Landbank and the OFBank are helping the DMW resolve these issues and concerns. 

“We will continue working with our Saudi counterparts to resolve these issues and we will continue assisting our OFWs and their families through this final stage in receiving their long overdue wages and benefits,” he said. (PNA)