Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January 6, 2009


Mentally ill Pinay in Jeddah returns home at last

01/06/2009 07:02 PM

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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - After almost half-a-year, mentally ill Filipina worker Judy (not her real name) has finally returned home to the Philippines from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.Accompanied by Kim Guro of the Philippine Consulate, Judy left Jeddah via Gulf Air last Saturday and arrived on Sunday afternoon in Manila.Welfare Officer Romualdo Exmundo said that Judy’s case is not an ordinary one.

He said the OFW was abused, which was likely to have contributed to her mental illness. Despite her condition, Judy has not shown any sign of being violent, said Exmundo, adding, “she just likes to dance all the time, sometimes even posing like a model.

"GMANews.TV gathered that Judy was brought to the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah last May 2008. “We tried to find her sponsor but our information was short. It was only when we found her agency that we were able to facilitate her exit visa," said Exmundo.

Three other distressed workers were also repatriated with Judy. They are Jocelyn Baluyo, Maria Adoctante, and Arnel Mendoza.“We still have one more (mentally ill) worker awaiting repatriation. We are hoping to send her home as soon as possible so that she can get proper treatment and be with her family in the Philippines. We are working on it now," said Exmundo.

Almost 70 distressed Filipino workers with pending cases are currently staying at the Filipino Workers Resource Center, actually a shelter maintained by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for runaway OFWs.

According to Exmundo, one of the biggest problems that’s preventing these runaway workers from being repatriated right away is the Saudi immigration policy which says only employers can obtain exit visas for their workers to go home legally.“The problem comes if the employer of the runaway worker will not cooperate. But we are not loosing our hope, we will just do our way patiently so that our distressed workers can go home," he said. - With Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV

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