DFA sets up shelters for Jeddah tent city dwellers

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Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has appealed to more than a thousand undocumented Filipinos camping outside the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah to cooperate by moving out of their tents and transferring to the facilities prepared for them by Philippine officials there.

“We need the cooperation of everyone. Are we getting it? We’re not. We are not getting cooperation of people in the camps,” Del Rosario said in a briefing on Friday afternoon.

“We don’t know what’s in their minds but we’re there. We’re ready to be helpful. We have the facilities. They say they want to stay together but it’s not healthy. If they have another agenda, they should share that with us,” he said.

At least 1,000 Filipinos remain in what has virtually become a tent city outside the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah since undocumented workers set up camps there more than two weeks ago for fear of arrest amid the Saudi government’s crackdown on illegal workers.

Among those living in tents are workers with expired work and residency visas, among other cases in violation of Saudi’s immigration law.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has requested the Saudi government to relax exit visa requirements for the Filipinos to expedite their repatriation. It has also vowed to cover the costs.

In the meantime, the DFA opened shelters where the Filipinos could move from tents, where living conditions are less than ideal, while processing their repatriation.

The shelters have sanitation and sleeping amenities as well as food and water, the official said.

But, to Del Rosario’s lament, less than 20 women and children have agreed to move to these facilities.

The official also sensed “something political” behind the Filipinos’ defiance to leave their tents, saying more people could be found at the camp at daytime.

“The daytime population increases. These people are convinced by those who are already there to come and manifest a show of force, but these guys have their own homes. There must be something political that we don’t know,” said Del Rosario.

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  • kanoy

    Can not bad mouth you on your efforts there del r. you not only need the illegals help you need the saudi help looks like a replacement for ambassador may be your next best move….like we did with china

  • Placido_Penitente

    Abusado na ang mga OFW na iyan. Lalabagin nila ang batas, gagawa sila ng problema tapos ipapasa na naman sa gobyerno ang paggawa ng solusyon. Ginagawan na ng solusyon ng gobyerno pero tinatanggihan pa. May politikal na agenda ang mga iyan natitiyak ko kaya ayaw umalis diyan. Sulsol iyan ng komunistang Migrante International upang hiyain ang pamahalaan. Anong bago sa inyo? Wala nang ginawa ang mga iyan kundi samantalahin ang kahinaan ng mga Pilipinong OFW para hatakin pababa ang pamahalaan. Wala nang bago sa talangka mentality ng mga Pilipino. Wala nang bago sa isip-dukha ng mga Pilipino. Wala nang bago sa puro reklamo, puro batikos, puro protesta ng mga Pilipino. Mga abusado at mapagsamantala na ang mga iyan. Hindi na sila makabagong bayani kundi mga makabagong traydor!

  • Mark

    Tsk, tsk, tsk, tama si Del Rosario, may HIDDEN AGENDA ang mga nasa tent city, mantakin mong sobrang init dun, siksikan pa at walang palikuran pero mas pinili nila dun kaysa dun sa inupahan ng ating gobyerno na malinis, maaliwalas at comfortable.

    Bakit dumadami sila pag tanghali? Ung iba kasi may bahay pang inuuwian, naghahanap lang ng libreng pamasahe pauwi kaya nakikigulo dun sa tent city.

    Magtagal sila dun sa tent city o lumipat sa inuupahang tuluyan ng gobyerno, ang SAUDI pa rin ang may last say kung makakauwi kayo, HINDI MIGRANTE at HINDI PILIPINAS.

    At sana ihiwalay ung mga tumakas sa amo o employer at dun sa mga hindi umuwi mula sa hajj at omhra para mas mabilis ang processo.

  • Noah Ark

    Lock the filipinos up in detention camps like the way the philippines immigration does to foreigners, then hold them captive, denying them of their due process rights and then ask excessive extortion money just to be deported! Give the filipinos a taste of what they dl to foreigners

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