Although the chief of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Rosalinda Baldoz assured overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that the new Saudization or Nitaqat system would have minimal effect on OFWs; the Philippine government and other organizations are taking steps to ensure that assistance will be available to all OFWs that will be affected by the new policy. Saudization or Nitaqat is the new policy in Saudi that prioritizes the hiring of Saudi nationals over migrant workers.

For one, the labor officials in the country plan to set up a registry so they can monitor the number of OFWs who will be hit by the Saudization. According to Baldoz, she instructed the labor offices in Riyadh and Manila to set up a registry. The registry aims to track the job industry that will be affected and the number of job openings.

On the other hand, migrant group, Migrante Middle East set up a 24/7 hotline numbers in Saudi Arabia for OFWs that may be affected by the Nitaqat system. This is part of their "Sagip Migrante" campaign. For OFWs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) that will be affected by Saudization, here are the numbers to call:

Hotline Numbers: 00966-564-978-012 and 00966-535921228.

John Monterona, Migrante Middle East coordinator said, “The Aquino government should prepare for the influx of jobless OFWs by developing the economy through genuine agrarian reform program and nationalization of basic industries and get away from reliance to multinationals and transnational corporations."

The Labor chief also said that OFWs working in government agencies in Saudi Arabia may be the first ones to be hit by Saudization. It includes OFWs working in government hospitals in KSA.

Baldoz said this from initial reports that local Saudi citizens prefer to work in government agencies because the pay is better and the working environment is less stressful.

She said, “Yan ang mas gusto pasukan ng nationals ng Saudi ever since. Kaya mas malaki ang sweldo diyan sa government offices, di kasing-stressful o hirap ng trabaho sa private companies na very crucial sa productivity."

Filipino workers in non-skilled occupations such as gardeners, watchmen and construction workers are also the first to be affected. Meanwhile, the Labor chief said that OFWs working in private hospitals may not be affected.

Baldoz said, “Hindi naman. Diyan, productivity ang pinaguusapan ... kasi lalo sa health care industry, alam mo tayo natural sa atin ang maasikaso."

The Labor chief also said that even if there are available jobs for OFWs that may be displaced because of Saudization, they still need to meet required qualifications.

She said. “Ang ating sinasabi at matagal natin napapagusapan, isang bagay ang may trabaho at isang bagay ang magkwa-qualify ka."

Meanwhile, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief, Carlos Cao Jr., implied that officials from Saudi and the Philippines may work on a “friendly solution" to the developing problem.

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