The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) will lead the establishment of an inter-agency task force that will oversee the streamlining of the processing of blood money claims.
ARTA made the statement after receiving at least 10 complaints on the delays in the processing of blood money claims in Saudi Arabia, with some complaints dating as far back as 2010.
Blood money is the financial compensation awarded to families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were killed outside of the country.
In a meeting with officials from ARTA and the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA), Philippine Embassy in Riyadh Third Secretary and Vice Consul Paolo Zurita identified the “unique” legal system of other countries and the lack of manpower in the embassy as some of the challenges in processing the blood money claims.
Zurita said the embassy has a backlog of at least 3,006 cases but only has one staff assigned to handle them all.
Among the agencies that will be tapped to join the IATF are DFA-OUMWA, Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Labor and Employment-Philippine Overseas Labor & Office (DOLE-POLO), Public Attorneys Office (PAO), Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), and National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).
The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and DFA-OUMWA will also facilitate a virtual conference meeting with the heirs of the blood money.
“I think it’s an excellent way to allay the fear of the heirs and also a way to show them that we are actively working on the cases,” Zurita said.
ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica encouraged his fellow government officials to continue working to streamline processes for the people’s convenience.
“Sa bandang huli po, ang makikinabang po rito ay yung taong bayan, pangalawa, yung mga agencies po na (In the long run, it’s the people who will benefit from this and also the agencies that) would strengthen the process,” he said.
The said agencies are set to conduct another meeting later this month to iron out details on the creation of the task force.