Philippines withdraws welfare officer for failing to help Saudi workers

Filipino workers are among thousands of expats in the country with unpaid salaries



The labour secretary of the Philippines, Silvestre Bello, has reportedly said he will withdraw a welfare officer stationed in Saudi Arabia for his failure to help distressed workers in the country.

In an interview on UNTV television on Monday, Bello identified the officer as Angel Cruz Jr. who is assigned the country’s consulate in Jeddah, according to reports

“I’m ordering the immediate recall of this officer before he could cause more trouble to our workers,” Bello was quoted as saying.

Bello said the recall follows complaints from Filipino workers, who said Cruz had done nothing to help them.

He cited complaints from workers during his short visit to the kingdom earlier this month and accusations that the officer had extorter money from workers.

Cruz denied the charges and told ABS-CBN TV that the accusation should not have been made without investigating.

He said he was willing to be part of an investigation to clear his name.

Earlier this month, Bello headed a labour delegation to Saudi Arabia to help thousands of Filipino workers in the country who had not received their salaries for months.

Read: Filipino workers stranded in Saudi to be provided free air tickets

Tens of thousands of foreign workers, many of which worked for troubled construction firms Saudi Oger and Saudi Binladin, have complained of unpaid wages since the start of the year.

Read: Thousands of workers abandoned in Saudi won’t leave without pay

The Philippines government has committed to provide almost $500 of support to workers of the Oger and other companies in a similar situation.

Saudi’s King Salman has issued new directives to help resolve the issue.

Read: Saudi introduces new system to solve worker complaints