News Release

Philippine delegation meets with Filipino community representatives in KSA

Members of the Filipino community in Saudi Arabia gathered as the Philippine delegation sent by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte provided an avenue to discuss well-being and related concerns of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) as a key priority of the Duterte Administration. The Philippine delegation headed by Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Special Envoy Robert Borje, together with Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Arriola and Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto, delivered the personal message of the President and discussed the issues relating to the concerns of OFWs in a back-to-back virtual town hall meeting and media availability session held at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on June 20, 2021. Issues discussed include the creation of the promised Department of OFWs, Saudi Arabia’s labor reform initiative, and flights and quarantine protocols for OFWs traveling to and from Manila and Riyadh, among others. PRESIDENTIAL PHOTOS

Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert E.A. Borje on Saturday, June 19, led the virtual town hall meeting with representatives of the Filipino community in Saudi Arabia, extending President Duterte’s message to Filipinos and reaffirming the government’s promise of Kalinga at Malasakit for OFWs.

During the meeting, the Special Envoy presented President Duterte’s personal message and well wishes for OFWs in the Kingdom.

President Duterte recognized the sacrifices of Overseas Filipinos through a video message saying, “Saludo ako sa inyo. You are the heroes. Thank you for everything that you do for our country.”

“Never forget the government is always with you. Hindi ko kayo pababayaan. Daghang salamat at mabuhay kayong lahat!”

The President encouraged Overseas Filipinos to get the COVID-19 jab to protect themselves against the virus, noting he himself got the shot.

In a similar video message, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go also commended the hard work and sacrifices of Overseas Filipinos for the benefit of their families.

He also expressed his gratitude to the officials and personnel of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Consulate- General in Jeddah, Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and Filipino community groups.

“Sa lahat ng ating mga manggagawa sa labas ng bansa, kami po ni Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte ay hindi magsasawang tugunan ang inyong mga pangangailangan,” the senator said.

During the town hall meeting, the Special Envoy reaffirmed the Duterte administration’s promise of Kalinga at Malasakit for Filipinos overseas, particularly as the Philippines celebrated Migrant Workers’ Day on June 7.

At the same time, he noted that the bill creating the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers would help ensure even greater support for OFWs once it becomes law.

Saturday’s program included an open forum, where participants took the opportunity to discuss a broad range of topics, including COVID-19 restrictions in the Philippines, OFW repatriation and planned establishment of a new department for Overseas Filipinos.

The meeting was a part of the program of activities for the Special Envoy during his official visit to Saudi Arabia, anchored on President Duterte’s commitment to protect and promote the rights and welfare of OFWs across the globe.

Aside from the virtual town hall meeting, PAFA Borje spoke with Filipino reporters in the Kingdom, together with Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola, and Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto.

Among the members of the press include Glesilda Torres of iRadio, Surdo Salanap of Radio Agila, and Efren Plaza Molina of FINA-AL Ahsa.

Other officials present were Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Enrico Fos, and PCOO – Office of the Global Media and Public Affairs (OGMPA) Assistant Secretary Jusan Vincent Arcena.

There are more than 800,000 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, mostly working as domestic laborers, according to a recent government estimate. Others are employed in the Kingdom’s construction, outsourcing, and healthcare sectors. PND