PH welcomes Saudi Arabia's extended amnesty program

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines welcomed Saudi Arabia’s second round of extension of its amnesty program for undocumented migrant workers, saying it will allow hundreds of undocumented Filipinos to return home.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano personally conveyed the country’s appreciation to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir at the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York on Saturday, September 23, according to a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

"The Philippine Government would like to thank you very much for the extension of your amnesty program," Cayetano told Al-Jubeir after the latter delivered his country's statement before the General Assembly.

Cayetano said the extension of the amnesty program is seen to benefit at least 6,000 undocumented Filipinos, who were unable to avail of the initial amnesty offer.

"We really appreciate this gesture of the Saudi government that would allow us to bring home many more of our kababayans who are still stranded there," he said.

The DFA said this is the 2nd extension granted by Saudi Arabia, which first implemented a 90-day amnesty program in March that was then extended for another 30 days.

A total of 8,467 undocumented Filipinos already availed of the initial offer, with the DFA repatriating them in various batches.

In April, 138 OFWs from Saudia Arabia went home to the Philippines and was brought by President Rodrigo Duterte after his week-long visit in the middle eastern country. –