Saturday, November 15, 2008

February 28, 2008

Stranded Filipinos in Jeddah sent for processing to deportation center
02/28/2008 09:32 PM

After a long wait, the remaining stranded OFWs who lived in tents at the Philippine consulate grounds in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for three weeks have finally been taken to the deportation area for processing of their exit papers.

There were about 70 Filipinos who ran away from their employers on various reasons, including reduced or non-payment of their salaries, poor working conditions, physical and verbal harm, and substitution of contract terms.

They were boarded on a bus at past 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to Eric Jocson, one of the stranded Filipinos who have agreed to leave the kingdom through legal means.Earlier, the run away Filipinos refused to give their real identity and the names of their employers on fear of being returned to their ‘abusive’ employers, or facing trump up charges.

Jocson said there were a few of his colleagues who were left behind because they came late for the bus. But consulate officials assured they would all be sent to the deportation area for processing.“I think this is what they have discussed during their meeting last night which lasted until 1 in the morning.

I saw almost all the officials involved in our repatriation came last night. Then they told us to get ready because the bus will come to get us," Jocson said.Other consulate officials said two or three of the stranded Filipinos remained their employer already coordinated with the embassy and would be issued exit visas.

Before setting up camps at the consulate grounds three weeks ago, the Filipinos stayed under a bridge in Jeddah, waiting for immigration police to pick them up for deportation.Reports said many of them have fallen victims to agents who promised them ‘backdoor exit" in exchange for huge sums of money.

Expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia are required to have “no Objection Certificates" before they can secure exit visas to be able to leave the kingdom. More than 40 of stranded Filipinos in Jeddah had been sent home. - Ronaldo Concha, GMANews.TV

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