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3 PH embassy execs in Saudi in hot water over violent dispersal of OFWs

/ 02:25 PM July 11, 2013

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio. Photo from congress.gov.ph

MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives on Thursday urged for the immediate recall of three Philippine Embassy officials following the violent dispersal of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia who were requesting for repatriation.

In a press conference, ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio urged the Philippine government to recall Labor Attaché Adam Musa, Ambassador Ezzedin Tago and Welfare Officer Abdullah Umpa for allowing police to disperse Filipinos lined up outside the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.

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Garry Martinez, chairman of Migrante, said that about 4,200 Filipinos were forced to live in tents outside embassies in Riyadh and Jeddah.

He said about 12,000 OFWs were stranded in Riyadh and Jeddah.

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When the Saudi government extended the grace period for undocumented OFWs to November 3, Martinez said many Filipinos lined up in groups to fix their status only to be dispersed by Saudi police.

“They did not want to leave the line and thought they could only get their travel documents if they went in groups. Instead, they were hurt by the police,” he told reporters.

Martinez said Tago, Musa and Umpa were identified by the OFWs at the scene as those responsible for the dispersal.

“They called the police to disperse the OFWs camped outside the embassy instead of helping them,” Tinio said.

“They are mandated to protect OFWs. They should have provided them with decent shelter and food,” he said.

Gabriela Partylist has filed House Resolution 52 urging the House committees on overseas workers affairs, foreign affairs, labor and employment, and human rights to conduct a joint investigation into the incident.

Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus said the government should hasten the repatriation due to reports that diseases were spreading within the tent cities.

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“There are women and children living in those tent cities. Some of the children have been suffering from chicken pox,” she said.

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TAGS: Features, Global Nation, Migrante, ofws, partylist, repatriation, Saudi Arabia
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