Gov’t vows to help abused OFWs in Saudi Arabia | Global News
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Gov’t vows to help abused OFWs in Saudi Arabia

/ 05:08 PM November 05, 2013

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma (Photo from http://pcoo.gov.ph/)

MANILA, Philippines – The government will help Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were maltreated and later deported from Saudi Arabia following a crackdown by its government against illegal immigrants, a Malacañang official said Tuesday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said that as long as there were enough evidence to prove that Filipino workers were abused by Saudi authorities, the Philippine government will support them in seeking justice.

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“Tungkulin po ng ating pamahalaan na ipagtanggol ang karangalan at karapatan ng lahat ng mamamayan (It is the government’s duty to protect the dignity and rights of our people),” Coloma said in a statement.

Thirty OFWs were deported from Saudi Arabia on Monday. They were among an estimated 6,700 Filipino workers stranded in parts of the Middle East Kingdom where an amnesty for undocumented foreigners ended as part of its “Saudization” policy on Sunday.

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Testimonies from the workers said the Saudi police rounded them up and placed them in a crowded cell for four days before they were paraded from the immigration center to the airport.

Meanwhile, some nongovernment organizations advised the Palace to hire private lawyers to hasten the repatriation of Filipinos still in Saudi Arabia.

Coloma was quoted in a news release by the government saying the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is handling the concerns of Filipino workers in the Middle East country.

“Meron po tayong konsulado heneral sa Jeddah at embassy sa Riyadh at sila po ang magpapanukala kung ano pang karagdagang hakbang na kinakailangan, bukod pa doon sa mga naisagawa na at kasalukuyan pang isinasagawa, kaya hihintayin po namin ang rekomendasyon ng ating DFA (We have a consul-general in Jeddah and Riyadh who will propose measures needed aside from those being implemented . This is why we will wait for the recommendation of DFA),” he added.

The Saudization, officially known as Saudi nationalization program, or Nitaqat system in Arabic, requires Saudi private companies to allot jobs to Saudi Arabians up to certain levels.

This program aims to improve the employment participation of Saudi Arabians in the private sector and ultimately deal with the kingdom’s unemployment problem.

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TAGS: crackdown, Immigration, Malacañang, Overseas Filipino workers, Palace, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Saudization
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