LABOR Secretary Silvestro Bello III has dismissed claims that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia were scavenging for food.
“Naniniwala ba kayo na ang Pilipino na isang marangal at may dangal na tao ay kakain ng basura? Hindi ako naniniwala na may Pilipino na kakain ng basura,” Bello said during a House committee hearing on public accounts on Thursday, June 25, 2020.
“Hindi ko po alam kung mayroon na kayong nakita na Pilipino na kumakain na ng basura,” he added.
In a tweet, Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto also downplayed the situation, saying that the OFWs merely “resorted to theatrics.”
“If reports reaching me are true, I’m disappointed with some of our people who have resorted to theatrics to catch attention. Fact is food assistance was given. Mamulot ng basura? C’mon,” he said.
“The fact is food assistance was given. Well, exit visas need to be granted and more flights needed. That is the truth. We are on it. Sana walang drama,” he added.
On June 22, Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration head Hans Leo Cadac said the agency was looking into the situation of Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia.
The investigation was launched after a video clip showing Filipino migrant workers searching for food in garbage bins was circulated on social media.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) in Riyadh, capital city of Saudi Arabia, said it was in talks with the employer of the OFWs who were seen scavenging in the video.
“Polo is coordinating with the Team Time Company and the Saudi Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development to bring home our workers," the Philippine Embassy in Saudi Arabia said in a statement. (SunStar Philippines)