No need to crowd ‘tent city’
MANILA, Philippines—There is no need for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to flock to the “tent city” outside the Philippine consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, amid the approaching crackdown against migrant laborers without work permits, Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Friday.
“You don’t need to go there just so you can be helped by our consulate. It’s enough that you get in touch with the authorities and submit the necessary documents they are asking,” Binay, who is also presidential adviser on OFW affairs, said in a statement.
The crackdown operations began on March 8, following the implementation of the “Saudization” policy (nitaqat), which required Saudi private firms to allot job slots to Saudi nationals. On April 6, however, the Saudi government delayed the deportations of displaced and undocumented workers for three months.
Many OFWs, however, were apprehensive about not being able to leave Saudi Arabia in time and have camped outside the consulate to demand their immediate repatriation. A few even brought along their children.
Binay said the consulate already had several dialogues with the camped OFWs and that consular officials just needed to look into each of the cases individually to enable them to provide the appropriate assistance.
“They are separating those with problems and those without problems. Those without problems [in their work papers] were told by the consulate not to worry but still they are insistent in being repatriated as soon as possible,” he added.
The Vice President said the consulate, which has already received information from 703 of the campers, was preparing a matrix showing the names, passport number, iqama number, information about their employers and other necessary information for submission to the Saudi foreign ministry.