7 OFWs, kids spend Yuletide season in Saudi jail

CHRISTMAS was grim with the seven overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and two kids who spent the Yuletide season in different jails in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

Migrante-KSA secretary-general Mike Garlan said the OFWs were apprehended for lacking proper documents.

“We were alerted by a concerned OFW who said there were seven undocumented OFWs who were apprehended by the Mottawa, police, and Jawazat in Naseem area, Riyadh early morning of Dec. 25; four of them were women, two of them having children ages one and three-month old,” Garlan told CBCPNews.

The unnamed Filipinas and their babies are being held in Semeisy jail, while the three males have been sent to Malaz Central Jail.

Garlan said that most of them had their iqamas (work permits) expired after running away from their abusive employers.

Garlan also said that his group has already reported the case in the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, requesting for an immediate assistance.

Prior to this, there were 33 runaway OFWs who have been arrested in Al-Khobar last November 24 due to overstaying. Those arrested include six male OFWs and 27 female OFWs and a month-old baby and three children.

Meanwhile, John Leonard Monterona of Migrante Mideast calls on the Benigno S. Aquino III government to work on the legalization of all undocumented OFWs in the oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“Though, they are undocumented, we can’t deny the fact that many of them are still working or could find a job as there are employers and companies that are willing to hire their services, and though undocumented they continue to send their meager remittance to their families back home,” said Monterona in a message.

Based on Migrante-ME estimates, there are about 10,000 undocumented OFWs in Saudi Arabia. CBCP News

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