Saudi ambassador, labor officials ordered brutal dispersal and arrest of stranded OFWs camping out of PH embassy in Riyadh

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International condemned in strongest terms the violent dispersal and unprovoked arrest of at least 40 stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), including women and children.

The dispersal of stranded OFWs started on the evening of June 30 and continued until July 4.  Last June 30, three OFWs went missing after they were arrested by Saudi police. The OFWs were identified as Reden Caboboy (KSA mobile #: 00966562642769), Fernand Morante (KSA mobile #: 00966580755706) and Glenn Mark Corbilla.

They have since been released by Saudi police. Their signatures are affixed in the affidavit of complaint accomplished by the OFWs against PH post officials. The complaint will be submitted to concerned agencies, Congress and other national and international human rights organizations and bodies. (Please see attached)

 As a result of the violent dispersal, the OFWs acquired physical injuries while the children were visibly traumatized.  The stranded OFWs were dispersed while holding a campout at the PH post in Riyadh.

 In the affidavit, the OFWs pinpointed Ambassador Ezzedin Tago, Labor Attache Adam Musa and Welfare Officer Abdullah Umpa as the masterminds of the dispersal.

“According to the OFWs, Tago, Musa and Umpa ordered the dispersal and reported the campout to the Saudi police. When they were dispersed, no Philippine official came to their aid despite their being on the premises of the PH embassy,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

“We strongly condemn this latest incident of violence and undue attacks against stranded OFWs who only wish to fast track the facilitation on their repatriation. The OFWs were clearly under Philippine jurisdiction. They were on Philippine territory. They were not violating any Saudi laws. We hold Umpa, Tago and Musa for this unprovoked, unjust and inhumane attack against our OFWs,” Martinez said.

Martinez demanded the immediate recall of Tago, Musa and Umpa – all officials have pending complaints against them by stranded OFWs for numerous counts of neglect, abuse of authority and conducts unbecoming of public officials.

He also called on DFA and DOLE and President Aquino to “instruct and direct PH post officials to cease and desist from harassing and attacking stranded OFWs”.

Nagbigay nga ng extension ang gobyerno ng Saudi pero mismong ang mga opisyal ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas ang nagte-terrorize at nananakit sa mga OFW natin. Dapat panagutin ng gobyernong Aquino ang pasimuno ng karahasang ito.”

Martinez also called on all freedom-loving Filipinos and the international community to condemn the continuous harassment, threats and attacks on stranded OFWs in Riyadh by PH officials. He said that stranded OFWs in Riyadh and Jeddah are resolved to continue their protests outside PH posts despite the declaration of extension of the deadline for the resumption of crackdowns in Saudi to reiterate their demand for “free, urgent and mass repatriation”.

Martinez said that they will highlight this latest incident and the plight of stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia as a major case in need of global action at the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines which will be held in Manila on July 19 to 21.

Returned OFWs and families of stranded OFWs and victims of crackdowns abroad are also gearing to participate in the People’s SONA on July 22. ###

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