More than 200 OFW hospital workers in Saudi return to work

Published May 1, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ariel Fernandez and Arnel Patawaran

More than 200 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), all of them employed at various hospitals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, are currently at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 1, awaiting their flight back to Dammam via Saudia.

According to Wilson Quizon, a pharmacist in Dammam, the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia arranged their flights, considered priority, as they were asked to return to work after being stranded in the Philippines for nearly a month of lockdown.

Quizon added that all of them received the proper documents from the Dammam Ministry of Health, asking them to return to work, although they will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Dammam.

Medical workers are a priority. The Dammam Ministry of Health asked them to resume work in Saudi Arabia to help take care of the sick.

Quizon and hundreds of other hospital workers, such as nurses, pharmacists, medical technicians, and nursing aides, are now queued up at the check-in counter of Saudia to board Flight SV 861 that is scheduled to depart for Dammam at 3:40 pm. Most of them have been at NAIA since 10 a.m.

Quizon returned to the Philippines on March 1, 2020 for a 20-day vacation. He was about to leave for Dammam on March 21, but the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) imposed by the Philippine government due to COVID-19 kept him from traveling.

“While under ECQ, I was able to spend more time with my family. We bonded, especially my children and I, pero nakaka-inip din kasi iniisip ko ang trabaho ko sa hospital (But I was also very restless, because I was thinking of my hospital job),” Quizon said, who added that his work in Saudi Arabia gives him good pay, which allows him to raise his family and send his children to school.