URGENT UPDATE: Food, water supplies withheld from stranded OFWs by PH Embassy in Riyadh

Migrante Partylist today condemned the ongoing food and water embargo being implemented by the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh against stranded OFWs presently holding their campout inside the embassy compound.

According to latest reports from the stranded OFWs, food and water supplies from supporters were being withheld by PH embassy authorities upon orders from PH Ambassador to Saudi Ezzedin Tago.

Quoting a text message from one of the OFWs in the campout, “Puro pananakot at panggigipit sa mga stranded. (They are complaining of) verbal abuse. Pinutol ang supply ng pagkain mula sa labas, walang supply ng tubig. Hindi sila makaligo at makaluto ng kanilang pagkain dahil ni-cut ang kanilang supply ng tubig sa loob ng compound. Walang tubig sa kanilang CR at banyo.”

 “Iyong kanilang pagkain na ibinibigay ng embahada sa umaga ay isang kubos (pita bread) at isang maliit na mineral water (330 ml) per head. Sa tanghalian ay isang itlog at 2 cup of rice per head at ganoon lang ulit sa gabi. Walang makapasok na supply ng pagkain, gamot, damit at iba pang personal na pangangailangan nila dahil iyong main gate at lahat ng gate ng PH embassy compound ay nakakandado at nilagyan ng padlock.”

According to Garry Martinez, Migrante Partylist 2nd nominee and Migrante International chairperson, the PH embassy is withholding supplies and support from outside because it wants the OFWs to leave the compound. Likewise, the gates are locked because they do not want to let others who want to join the campout to come in.

“What the PH embassy is doing is pure betrayal. It is illegal. It is merciless. What kind of embassy denies sanctuary and assistance to its constituents? Only in the Philippines,” Martinez said. (Please see attached photos)

 Children getting sick

Martinez said that as of 10:00am, KSA time, yesterday, an argument erupted between PH embassy officials and the stranded OFWs when two babies were forcibly removed from the campout upon orders from Ambassador Tago.

One of the children, 3-year-old Faisal Asi, has hydrocephalus. His mother, Maisa Asi, was in hysterics when she found out that her child was gone.

Ang sabi daw ni Tago ay kinuha ang mga bata para ipagamot. After a few hours, napag-alaman na itinengga lang pala ang mga bata sa loob ng embahada at hindi naman binigyan ng medical attention. Doon na nila binawi ang mga bata,” Martinez said. (Please see attached video)

Martinez called on the Aquino government and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to sanction PH officials in Riyadh. He also reiterated their group’s demand for the recall and punishment of Tago and other negligent PH officials in Saudi. “Nakakahiya sila. Dapat silang managot sa ginagawa nilang ito. ###