CEBU, Philippines – At least 20 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) each received P20,000 in financial assistance from the Cebu provincial government after having been repatriated and retrenched from their work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and stranded there for eight months.
The provincial government through Governor Hilario Davide III and Vice Governor Agnes Magpale turned over the cash assistance to the OFWs, who all hail from Cebu, on Monday afternoon following the Provincial Board (PB) session. The PB earlier passed a resolution granting P20,000 aid to each of the 20 OFWs.
They were part of the estimated 10,000 OFWs who had been displaced and stranded for eight months in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the country faced an economic crisis.
One of the aid’s recipients was a father of three from Toledo City, midwest Cebu.
Jeffrey Piala, 45, had been repatriated to the Philippines from Saudi Arabia on October 3 last year.
He worked at Saudi Binladin Group Advanced Vision as welder for four years since July 2012. He was earning at least P30,000 a month.
But in February 2016, his employer failed to pay for his wages. Thinking the delay was only temporary, Piala said he kept on working without receiving pay for seven months.
Piala said he had been breaking his back on the job without getting the salary he deserved.
“Lisod kaayo. Wa ko’y sweldo sa pito ka buwan. Maong nakahuna-huna ko mobalik na lang sa Pilipinas,” he said, his voice cracking.
“Mag-extra ko sa construction. Usahay maka-sweldo og P390 a day. Ako gani asawa mobantay lang og bata usahay aron mapun-an among kunsomo,” he added.
Even with a combined salary of around P600 a day, he said, it still could not make both ends meet. Piala said he is not closing the doors to working again abroad if only for his family’s daily sustenance and for his children’s quality education. His children are aged 21, 19 and 16.
“Naa ko’y plano nga mobalik kay perting lisora ang panarbaho dili gyud kaimpatar ang sweldo. Perting lisora. Sa pagkakaron pwerteng lisora,” he said. (FREEMAN)