Stories of Despair, of a Future Dimmed, and of Concern for Fellow OFWs

Like other runaways, he went to the Al Kandhara Bridge, then joined the camp out at the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah. He was also sent to the Jeddah and Riyadh deportation centers.

“Pagpasok sa deportation, pagkatapos lang ng isang araw, bugbugan na,” (After only a day at the detention center we were immediately involved in a fight.) Abad recalled that stranded Filipinos were engaged in a fight with Egyptians for the meager food being given to the detainees. He said that there were about six fights related to food in the three weeks that they were there.

In the morning, Abad said they were given only kubos or bread. In the afternoon, they were fed with rice and chicken. But six people had to share a small piece of chicken. “Minsan kalabasa lang. Mas masarap pa ang pagkain ng baboy. ‘Di ko nga alam anong klaseng luto ‘yun.” (Sometimes we were fed only squash. The food given to pigs is better to what we were served. I do not know how they cooked their food.)

At the Riyadh deportation center, Abad said, their things were stacked in a small space and were never given back to them. Sometimes, when they got the chance to wash their underwear, they would be wearing only their pants.

Abad was with the first batch of stranded OFWs deported on April 12. Despite the miserable conditions he experienced while being stranded abroad, he was still able to buy something to bring home to his family, which he bought from the small amount he was able to save.

“May mga pasalubong pa sana ako..kahit konti..chocolate, toothpaste, sabon,” (I was able to buy a few things for my family such as chocolates, toothpaste, soap. But they are gone.) said Abad who seems to be always staring into space while being interviewed by Bulatlat. He also said that other OFWs even had jewelries in their bags but these were not returned to them when they were released from the deportation center.

Abad said he would just go back to driving his tricycle even if it would not be enough to support his family. And if any of his children ever thinks of working abroad to help support the family, he would beg them not to go to the Middle East.

“Tama na ‘yung naranasan ko. Ayoko nang pati sa kanila mangyari pa ‘yun,” (What I experienced is enough. I don’t want them to suffer the same fate.) said Abad.

Medy Silverio, wounded but concerned

Medy Silverio, 40, was deported to the Philippines under an assumed name in September 2007.

Although she was a run away domestic helper, she was arrested in a friend’s birthday party where some male friends were drinking liquor.

She was brought to the Breman Deportation Prison where she saw Nora, an OFW.

She still remembers Nora whenever she sees news footages about stranded OFWs in Jeddah.

Silverio was told by other OFWs that Nora is a domestic helper who was raped by her employer’s first son. When the first son was finished raping Nora, the two other siblings argued as to who would rape her next. A fight ensued and the two accidentally killed each other. The first son then claimed that Nora killed his two brothers.

“’Di s’ya umaamin na s’ya ang pumatay. Pero mamamatay din naman s’ya sa bartolina,” (Nora never admitted to the crime. But she would eventually die inside the isolation cell.) said Silverio.

Silverio is so concerned and bothered about the plight of Nora that she went to the office of Migrante last April 15 to seek help for her.

As for Silverio, she is still experiencing nightmares.

Silverio is still applying for work but this time in Hong Kong. Although she knows that OFWs like her could be abused anywhere, she just hopes that she would find a kind employer. “Ano naming mangyayari sa buhay namin dito? Ang hirap ng buhay.” (What would happen to our life if we stay here? Life here is difficult.) (

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