OFWs told: Don't wait for extension, correct status now
MANILA - Over a thousand undocumented Filipinos are still in Saudi Arabia, with just a few more days remaining before the November 3 deadline against illegally staying foreign workers.
"Dapat di umaasa ang mga tao sa extension. Maaga pa lang inaayos na nila mga papel nila," said Ambassador Ezzedin Tago.
Tago said the Saudi government had extended the amnesty before. But Filipinos cannot just bank on another extention before they correct their status in the kingdom, he said.
"Na-extend siya ng 4 months. Ang total period niya 7 months. I dont think dapat yung iba mag-antay ng last day," he said.
He said there are still around 1,400 Filipinos waiting to be repatriated from Saudi Arabia.
"According sa mga listahan namin at sa mga actively seeking ang aming assistance para i-endorse sila sa mga awtoridad, ang number po dito sa Riyadh about 500, tapos sa Jeddah around 900 ang humihingi ng tulong para ma-repatriate," said Tago.
He said many Filipinos were not qualified or covered under the amnesty program of the Saudi Arabian government.
"Ang ginagawa po namin, nakipag-meet po ako sa Emir of Riyadh last week, at in order to seek yung kanyang tulong sa mga Pilipinong walang papel, nag-agree po siya na mag-form ng inter-agency committee para tingnan yung kaso ng bawat isa, at saka kung wala namang private rights or complaints against them, ipa-process sila for repatriation," he explained.
Some OFWs, he said, have traffic violations or are facing complaints filed against them by their employers which they have to first resolve in order for their cases to move forward and eventually be repatriated.
"So far, we have not experienced any serious problem pero kailangan talagang puntahan either sa station o i-check talaga ang original problem ng iba," he said.
The Philippines is not the only sending country that has yet to repatriate all its undocumented OFws from Saudi Arabia.
"Maraming bansa pa din ang di pa na clear ang nationals nila. We are coordinating with authroties. naibigay po namin listahan ng mga pangalan and hopefully we will find a solution to this in coordination with authorities," said Tago. Report from DZMM