Gov’t help assured to OFWs living prison-like condition in Saudi Arabia


Government assistance has been assured to OFWs who are living in cramped quarters in Saudi Arabia and performing jobs different from what was promised to them by their recruiter in the  Philippines.

An exclusive report by GMA News’ JP Soriano on “24 Oras” on Wednesday said Labor attaché Jun Rasul has already met with the affected OFWs and urged them to make a formal written complaint that can be forwarded to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for action.

“Sabihin niyo lahat ng reklamo niyo. Walang sweldo, walang iqama [at] accommodation. Sabihin niyo pangalan ng agency niyo para ma-forward ko sa POEA agad,” Rasul told the OFWs during their meeting.

One of the OFWs, Prince Wharen Kian, accused his recruiter of duping him when he got a job in Jeddah different from what was promised to him.

“Hindi po nasunod yung pangako sa ‘kin na HVAC/building electrician. Nagtanong ako kung bakit iba nakalagay sa visa ko, ang sabi nila alam na daw ‘yun ng company dito sa Jeddah. Kaya daw plumbing tech ang nakalagay sa visa kasi ‘yun lang daw madaling paraan para makaalis ako,” he said in a text message to GMA News.

Aside from that, Kian and several others were also forced to live in cramped quarters. He said sometimes, they would sleep on the rooftop especially when there was no electricity because they could not stand the heat in the room.

Food was also scarce, and the OFWs have to subsist on donations from outsiders and then find ways on how to cook them, the report said

“Bigyan ng pagkain, salamat din kami kasi wala rin ho. Gusto man namin umuwi, pero dadaan pa po namin sa tamang proseso kasi ‘pag na-deport kami, wala rin, lugi din,” Daniel Brace, another affected OFW, said.

POEA Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch OIC-Director II Atty. Rosemarie Duquez said these OFWs may also pursue legal charges against their recruiter through POEA.

“We can provide legal assistance kung meron silang reklamo sa agency at sa employer,” Duquez said.

Wise Recruitment Agency, the recruiter, has declined to comment on the accusations, the “24 Oras” report said. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News