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PRRD to bring home OFWs given clemency

President Duterte is planning to bring home the first batch of overseas Filipino workers given clemency and clearance in the Middle East.

Before departing for his weeklong journey to three Gulf states yesterday, the President announced the government would start to facilitate the repatriation of OFWs in Saudi Arabia.

“Yes, they’ve been given the clearance. I will fly them home. Pagdating ko dito, dala ko na ‘yung iba,” the President said in a press conference at the Davao City airport, when asked if the fate of Filipinos given on Death Row will be tackled during his visits to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar.

“Doon sa Jeddah. Those who are given the permission or clemency to whatever it was, may clearance na about 5,000 of them, we’ll start bringing them back. The first batch, pagdating ko, pagbalik,” he added.

The President’s first stop in his Middle East trip will be Saudi Arabia, which recently offered a 90-day amnesty program for undocumented foreign workers, including Filipinos.

The amnesty program, which started last March 29, allows the undocumented workers to return to their countries of origin without payment of penalties or exit fees. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said around 5,000 undocumented Filipino workers are expected to benefit from the amnesty program.

The President, in his departure statement, said he aims to forge “deeper and more meaningful and more positive engagements” with the Middle East during his visit. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)