No doubt, the stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) recently deported back to the Philippines are rushing to be with their families. But before getting home, they have called on Philippine officials to act on their problems.
BY AUBREY SC MAKILAN
Vol. VIII, No. 11, April 20-26, 2008
No doubt, the stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) recently deported back to the Philippines from Saudi Arabia are rushing to be with their families.
But before getting home, they have called on Philippine officials to act on their problems.
Deported Armando Navarro and Ricardo Abad urged the Philippine government to replace all Philippine officials assigned in Saudi Arabia.
“Palitan n’yo na lahat ng nakaupo mula sa ibaba hanggang sa itaas” (Replace all officials there from bottom to top), said Navarro. “Imbes na sila ang makatulong sa amin, sila pa nagpapahirap sa amin” (Instead of helping us, they have caused us hardships.)
Navarro is willing to stay a little longer at the Migrante office just to wait for his fellow OFWs, even if that means it would delay his reunion with his family in Palawan.
“Nagpaplano nga kami ng reunion pag nakabalik na kami dito” (We are planning to hold a reunion once we all get back home), he said. “Y’ung inumpisahang laban (sa Saudi), itutuloy namin dito. Parang nawalan na kami ng takot sa nangyari sa amin.” (We’ll continue here the fight we started in Saudi. It seems we’ve become unafraid because of what happened.)
Unfortunately, one of them will no longer be reunited with his friends and his family.
Navarro identified the fatality as Ryan Castillo, an OFW from Batangas City. He said that while in Riyadh deportation, he received a phone call from a fellow OFW at the Jeddah deportation informing them that Castillo contracted a disease inside the prison cell where he was brought by Saudi immigration authorities, and later succumbed to a heart attack.
Philippine Consul General Ezzedin Tago confirmed that an OFW died at the Jeddah Deportation Center on April 6 and admitted that the OFW was unaccounted for as he was not endorsed for deportation.
Castillo reportedly posed as a pilgrim who had lost his identification and turned himself in to expedite his deportation.
Tago said that the Philippine Consulate had not endorsed the man who died. Endorsement by the Philippine government is required for Filipinos before they can be held for deportation. This process is aimed at weeding out criminals seeking an easy way to flee the country incognito, as well as workers who walked away from their jobs and want to avoid the more complicated process of seeking clearance from their employers on a final-exit visa.