Go slow on deployment ban on Saudi, Bello told

OCTOBER 18, 2021

A RECRUITMENT leader urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to be cautious in implementing a deployment ban on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), which could affect over a million overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

LBS Recruitment Solutions Corp. President Lito B. Soriano issued the statement after Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello announced last week he is considering the measure to compel the Saudi government to facilitate the release of the P4.6 billion worth of unpaid wages of 9,000 OFWs.

The OFWs were displaced in KSA in 2015 due to the economic impact of the drop in crude oil prices in the world market during that time.

Soriano urged Bello to first go through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) before deciding to implement the measure.

“Before any ban can be issued, the current Ambassador of the Philippines to Saudi Arabia has to certify that the country is not compliant [with] the Revised 2016 POEA Rules and Regulations, and POEA Governing Board will then issue a resolution for a deployment ban,” Soriano said in a statement.

“Sec. Bello cannot unilaterally issue a ban without  a POEA Governing Board Resolution,” he added.

Bello said he has instructed POEA and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to study the possible imposition of a deployment ban on KSA.

To note, the labor chief also threatened to impose a temporary deployment ban on KSA for the delayed release of two OFWs at the hands of an allegedly abusive retired Saudi general.

DOLE did not push through with the ban after the two OFWs were finally released to the custody of the Philippine post in KSA.