Some 147 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who availed of the 90-day amnesty program offered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last March arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) via Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Thursday.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said the repatriation of the workers including 12 children was part of the “Sagip Sundo ng Pangulo.”
The 147 returnees were among the 5,000 OFWs who took the opportunity to come home after their “iqama” expired on March 19 and immediately availed of the Saudi government’s amnesty program to avoid harsh penalty.
One of the OFWs identified as Sophia Fessehason, 33, a native of Jolo, Sulu, have five children from his husband, a Yemeni. She met him in Saudi Arabia in 2005. Her husband was killed in a car bombing when he returned to Yemen for a visit in 2014.
Since then, Sophia’s sister, who is also working in Saudi Arabia, helped her raise her children. Despite being a illegitimate worker, she was able to get help from the Philippine Embassy to include her in the amnesty program.
Sophia has decided to bring her children to Jolo because she cannot raise them alone without the help of her relatives in the province.
At least 4,000 OFWs have registered for repatriation and are due to arrive within the next few days, one batch after another, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd.