- OFWs took to social media to address their plight in Saudi Arabia
- The OFWs said they were not being paid and were being detained by their employers
- Migrante International has since talked to their employers and extended help
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) based in Saudi Arabia have taken to social media to ask for support from the Philippine government after many of them claim that they are allegedly being detained by their employers and their proper salaries being withheld from them.
According to them, their employers have barred them from speaking with officials from the Philippines.
“Kababaihang OFWs ng SRACO, ikinukulong ng malupit na employer. Humanitarian team kasama ang DSWD na pinadala ni Pangulong Duterte atvang Islamic Center, hindi pinayagang makapasok sa kanilang compound. Nanawagan sila ng agarang tulong mula sa Embahada at POLO na sa maagang panahon ay ma rescue sila doon. Wala na silang makain. Karamihan sa kanila ay nagkakasakit. Tulungan po natin sila.,” wrote migrants rights’ group Migrante Al Khobar -Eastern Region Ksa on their official Facebook account.
[Female OFWs of SRACO, being detained by cruel employer. Humanitarian team together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development that was sent by President Duterte to the Islamic Center, were not allowed to enter their compound. They are asking for immediate help from the Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office to rescue them at the earliest time. They have nothing to eat. Many of them are getting sick. Let us help them.]
The migrant group Migrante explained that they have since been allowed to enter the premises of the compound after an initial miscommunication with the group’s employers.
“Nang dumating po ang high level mission at mga Migrante para kausapin ang management, nagkaroon po ng miscommunication. Akala po nila, basta natin kukuhanin ‘yung ating mga kababayan kaya nagkaroon po ng almost 24 hours na hindi sila nakausap. The next day po, pinapasok naman po nang maayos ang Migrante,” Migrante International Chairman Gary Martinez explained to GMA News.
[When the high level mission and Migrante came to talk to the management, there was a miscommunication. They thought that we would simply take our countrymen so there was almost 24 hours that we couldn’t talk to them. The next day, Migrante was able to enter properly.]
Although the employers have promised to pay the employees’ wages and to refer them to other jobs available, the workers have rejected their offer and opted instead to be sent back home to the Philippines.
No date of repatriation has been set as of yet.
Over 11,000 OFWs have been left stranded in Saudi Arabia after mass layoffs of workers were made following a slump on oil prices.