Labor chief Bello suspends deployment of OFWs to Saudi Arabia

DOLE learns expenses shouldered by OFWs for the 10-day quarantine required upon entry in Saudi Arabia

(File photo) Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III explaining his concern on what he thinks is a long quarantine period for returning OFWs during an unscheduled “Talk to the Nation” of President Rodrigo Duterte on April 21, 2021. (Screenshot of PCOO/RTVM video)


(Eagle News) – The Department of Labor and Employment has temporarily suspended the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Saudi Arabia.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III issued the directive to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) after receiving reports that “departing OFWs are being required by their employers/foreign recruitment agencies to shoulder the costs fo the health and safety protocols for COVID-19 and insurance coverage premium upon their entry to the Kingdom.”

The directive was issued thru a Memorandum dated May 27, 2021 to POEA Administrator Bernard P. Olalia.

“In the interest of service, you are hereby instructed to affect the temporary suspension of deployment of OFWs to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia effective immediately until further notice,” Bello said in the memo.



In an interview with the Eagle News Service program Balitalakayan on Friday, May 28, the Labor chief noted that this is not fair for the country’s workers who are being required to shoulder expenses for a 10 day quarantine period in Saudi Arabia upon their entry.

Hindi pa nga nakakapag-hanapbuhay pinapagastos na naman. Hindi biro yung 10 days na quarantine sa hotel facilities nila. Kawawa yung ating mga OFWs,” he said.

Bello said that the employers of the OFWs should be the ones who should shoulder the expenses of the Filipinos.

He said that he had already discussed this with the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia. The Philippines wants to have a document that will state that the employers will shoulder the OFWs’ quarantine expenses.

Yung mga nakikinig na papunta ng Riyadh, medyo sinuspindi muna namin ang pagpunta doon…. Hold muna ang deployment hanggang di pa natin natitiyak kung ano talaga ang dahilan kung bakit dapat i-quarantine sila at kung bakit kailangan na sila ang sumagot doon,” he said during the program.

“Pagka naklaro na iyon, at hindi naman kawawa ang ating mga OFW, puede na nating iresume ang deployment ng ating mga kababayan,” Bello added.

(Eagle News Service)