Taking cue from at least 3,000 stranded OFWs camping outside of the PH Consulate in Jeddah in what is now known as the “Tent City”, stranded OFWs also awaiting repatriation by the Aquino government have launched similar “campout protests” in Riyadh, KSA and Jordan.
Some 30 stranded OFWs held a picket at the PH Embassy-run shelter in Ammam, Jordan to demand proper accommodations and immediate repatriation last April 23. Since then, they have also been camped outside of the PH post.
The OFWs, all women and undocumented for having run away from abusive employers, decided to hold the campout protest after the PH post reportedly rejected them from staying at the shelter.
“Masyado na raw marami ang naka-shelter sa Jordan at hindi na sila kayang i-accommodate. Ano’ng klaseng serbisyo ba itong ginagawa ng ating gobyerno?” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson and Migrante Partylist 2nd nominee.
Martinez said that apart from the 30 OFWs, some 40 others have recently enlisted for repatriation since December last year. The PH shelter in Jordan is believed to house some 300 undocumented OFWs awaiting repatriation.
Meanwhile, in Riyadh, Saudi, stranded OFWs are also planning to hold a “camp-in” protest starting April 29 inside the PH post there to also demand their speedy repatriation.
“As we can see, the Jeddah Tent City campout is not just an isolated case. What we are witnessing here is a concrete reflection of the crisis of the labor export policy,” Martinez said.
Martinez said that the Aquino administration’s labor export policy is clearly characterized by the government’s neglect and abandonment of OFWs’ welfare and protection.
In Jeddah,stranded OFWs have already reached an estimated 3,000 as of this posting. Since the Jeddah Tent City campout started, not one OFW has been repatriated by the Aquino government.
Solidarity campout of families
On April 29 to May 1, families of the stranded OFWs are gearing to launch their own “solidarity campout” to demand “free, quick and mass repatriation” of their loved ones, as well as immediate relief and urgent assistance for the OFWs while they await repatriation.
“We call on all families and relatives of stranded OFWs in Saudi to join us,” Martinez said. ###