In coordination with the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Office of the Social Welfare Attaché (SWAtt) now holds mandatory interviews and briefing of Filipino household service workers (HSWs) with their Saudi national employers prior to the renewal of passports as per directive of the Head of Post, Consul General Edgar B. Badajos, of the Philippine Consulate General , Jeddah, KSA.
“This initiative is the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia or if not in the entire Middle East,” Social Welfare Attache’ Priscilla Razon said.
According to SWAtt Razon, the reason why they came up with the mandatory procedure is to ensure that the HSWs are not exploited and are properly treated by their employers specifically in the Western region of the KSA.
“The Philippine government is serious in looking into the welfare and protection of our nationals, particularly the household service workers,” she explained.
The interview process aims to provide an orientation about the mandate of the Consulate to ensure the protection of Filipino migrant workers and to draw information from the employers and household workers about their living condition, relationship with their employers and their family members, working hours, and concerns on salary and benefits.
A priority lane or express lane was also set up at the PCG Consular Office for the HSWs who were accompanied by their employers so they can go back to their workplace at once.
Since the start of the procedure during the third quarter of 2018, the SWAtt has already oriented 1,292 Saudi employers about the mandate of the Philippine government to protect the rights, welfare, and interest of Filipino workers.
Aside from the mandatory interview, other programs of the social welfare attaché office in Jeddah include the provision of various assistance to distressed Overseas Filipino Workers like distribution of food packs and other non-food items, medical, transportation, counseling and stress debriefing sessions, pre-marriage counseling, social preparation sessions for OFWs ready for repatriation, and referral services to the different DSWD-Field Offices to assist returning OFWs with their reintegration plans, among others.
The SWAtt also provided air transportation assistance to undocumented mothers and children to expedite their repatriation during the Amnesty Program in 2017. ###