Malacañang on Friday assured that the government is prepared to extend assistance to Filipinos asking for help in Saudi Arabia, particularly those who are undocumented and want to go back to the Philippines.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has been making representations with the Saudi government in assisting undocumented OFWs.
”We are going to have to continually push our efforts to make sure that everybody who needs to have their papers fixed will be fixed,” Valte said.
”There is already a particular deadline that we are working against which is why in the past months, the DFA has made persistent appeals to our people there to make sure to avail of the help being given by our post there,” she added.
According to Valte, there is still no reply yet from the Saudi government on the request of the Philippine government to further extend the deadline for undocumented workers.
”I understand that the Office of the Vice President and the DFA is making several representations in light of this,” she said.
”But nonetheless, we continue to make the necessary representations and we will continue to push to help everybody who needs the assistance there,” she added
At least 7,000 Filipino workers sought repatriation from Saudi Arabia after King Abdullah ordered a three-month delay on government crackdown against illegal and overstaying foreigners in that country.
According to workers’ group Migrante, 7,000 have signed up for repatriation but it expects the number to go up because 20,000 were considered undocumented out of about 1.5 million Filipinos in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah stopped the crackdown against illegal immigrants and foreign workers in April, giving them three months to fix their status.
Those who will be caught without proper documents may land in jail and could be fined, deported and banned from entering Saudi Arabia.