DAVAO CITY – Migrant workers urged the incoming president, Rodrigo Duterte to create a special task force for the repatriation of undocumented overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia.
In a statement, John Leonard Monterona, convener of the United OFW Worldwide (U-OFW) said around 150 undocumented OFWs have sent their appeal to Duterte to prioritize their repatriation.
Monterona suggested that the special task force “will be under the guidance and supervision of the DFA secretary directly reporting to the president.”
“We are calling on former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) head Atty. Perfecto Yasay, Jr. as the incoming Duterte’s DFA secretary to look into the deplorable plight of the hundreds of undocumented OFWs in Saudi Arabia and work for the repatriation of undocumented,” Monterona added.
During Friday’s gathering of OFWs in Saudi Arabia, Frederick Cornejo, chairperson of Riyadh-based OFW Undocumented for Legalization through Amnesty (OFWULA), said: “We reiterate our appeal to presumptive President-elect Mayor Rody Duterte to help us that upon his assumption in office, issue a directive to all concerned PH government agencies to work on our immediate and free mass repatriation. Irregular OFWs are in substantial numbers of a conservative estimate of 800 in Riyadh alone, 28 of them are mother and child.”
Monterona who advises the OFWULA, said they have monitored 800 irregular or “TNT” OFWs in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia who are living in their rented houses.
“Eighty distressed and stranded male OFWs who have existing labor issues with their employer at the male shelter in Exit 8 villa in Riyadh, while 150 female distressed and stranded, eight of whom have children are at the Bahay Kalinga (BK) in Riyadh,” said Monterona.
The group also documented at least 40 ran away female household service workers are currently enrolled at the Saudi Social Welfare agency (SWA) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, at least 50 at the Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC) in the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah.
At least 3,000 irregular OFWs were also recorded in Jeddah, 100 of whom are staying inside the Sumeisy Deportation.
The group lamented that previous administrations “have neglectedthousands of irregular OFWs in Saudi Arabia, who despite of their deplorable plight continue to send remittances, thus directly and indirectly helping the PH economy.” (davaotoday.com)