Prieto has been diagnosed withcolon cancer. He has sought the assistance of the Migrante chapter in Jeddahafter he failed to get help from the PH embassy for his request for urgentmedical assistance and immediate repatriation.
Prieto has worked in SaudiArabia for 23 years as a sewer. When his former employer died, he becameundocumented and took on freelance jobs to survive. When he found out about hisillness, he immedately filed for repatriation at the PH Embassy last February13, 2014. As of this posting, however, his application is still underprocessing for an exit visa.
He also told Migrante that theDepartment of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Jeddah has merelyadvised him to secure funds for his airfare for him to be able to go home.Because of his illness, Prieto does not have any income or savings left. Hismedical bills and medication are presently being shouldered by concerned membersof the Filipino community in Jeddah.
“The case of Tatay Fortunato iscause for outrage for OFWs all over the world, especially in light ofdevelopments in the pork barrel scam. Habangnapag-aalaman nating bilyun-bilyong piso ang kinukurakot ng mga senador atkongresista, may mga katulad niyang wala ni isang kusing na nakukuhang tulongmula sa ating gobyerno. Nasaan na ang milyon pisong pondo sa Assistance toNationals na sana’y nakalaan para sa mga tulad ni Tatay Fortunato? Kinurakot narin ba nila?” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
He added, “Tatay Fortunato isterminally-ill and in need of urgent medical attention. Where is the government’scompassion? On the other hand, we have the likes of (Janet Lim) Napoles and (Gloria)Arroyo lavishing in airconditioned hospital rooms, funded by taxpayers’ moneyand OFWs’ remittances.”
Martinez called on theDepartment of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Congress to investigate Prieto’scomplaint that he was being asked to shoulder his own air fare home, as well asthe lack of medical assistance from the embassy. ###