According to reports from Migrante-Saudi, fresh batches of thousands of stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) trooped anew to the Jeddah Tent City after their employers evicted them in light of the resumption of crackdowns on undocumented migrants in the Kingdom last November 3.
The crackdowns are now also targetting migrants who are working for employers other than those indicated in their sponsorship visas.
“Because of the manner of the martial law-like crackdowns by Saudi authorities, employers forced OFWs out of their homes, offices and factories out of fear of being sanctioned. As a result, the number of OFW stranded in the Tent City has exponentially increased,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
Shelter not free
However, Martinez said, the OFWs are complaining that the shelter being provided by the PH Consulate in Jeddah cannot accommodate the huge influx of OFWs. “The shelter can only take in at most 200 OFWs. Worse, the PH post is renting out the shelter, thus discouraging the OFWs from taking refuge.”
He said that this is in direct conflict with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the PH embassy’s advise to OFWs to “stay in the Tent City’ where “they can be safer from the crackdowns”.
“Kung pinalayas sila ng walang kapera-pera, saan na sila pupunta? Hanggang sa huli pinagkakakitaan pa rin ng gobernyo ang mga OFW,” Martinez said.
Martinez also echoed calls by Migrante-Middle East urging the Aquino government to file a ‘diplomatic protest’ against the Saudi government for alleged abuses and human rights violations against apprehended OFWs.
Martinez slammed DFA Sec. Albert del Rosario for dismissing the complaint of a Filipina OFW as an “isolated incident”.
“Instead of taking pro-active measures to prevent further abuses because of the crackdowns, del Rosario is making excuses for the Saudi government. What they should do is to immediately file a diplomatic protest to firmly signify that the Philippine government will not allow the violation of human rights of our OFWs despite of their status. Hindi iyang sila pa ang nangunguna sa pagbabalewala,” he said.
Martinez called on the international community to condemn human rights violations and abuses of the Saudi government not only against OFW but migrants of other nationalities who are being targetted by the crackdowns. ###