PH seeks Saudi Arabia deadline extension
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has asked Saudi Arabia for more time to repatriate Filipinos illegally in the kingdom, Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Sunday.
“There are still around 1,500 Filipinos whose papers have not been acted upon. But we’ll have to understand that it’s not only the Filipinos who are affected by this requirement. So, hopefully, this registration for repatriation can be given another extension,” Binay told reporters at the inauguration of the Shandong Association of the Philippines officers in Pasay City.
The deadline for the amnesty given by the Saudi king to undocumented migrants lapsed on Sunday, after which Saudi authorities will round up, jail and deport all illegally aliens.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it had repatriated 4,020 Filipinos from Saudi Arabia but there were 1,500 more whose papers were being processed for immigration clearances.
Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, DFA spokesman, called on the Filipinos there to leave their makeshift “tent city” and proceed to the temporary shelters set up by the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and Jeddah “for their own protection.”
But Malacañang on Sunday downplayed the impact of Saudi Arabia’s “Saudization” policy, saying that the government had “prepared mechanisms that would give Filipinos opportunities to move to other companies or get into other professions.”—Jerome Aning and Christian V. Esguerra
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