NO Filipinos were involved in a riot that broke out between authorities and illegal migrant workers in Saudi Arabia last week.
Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday said the Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia reported that there were no confirmed reports that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were arrested for their participation in the riot.
“Ambassador Ezzedin Tago informed me that the Philippine Embassy already sent a roving team to four police stations in Saudi and there are no confirmed reports of any arrest,” he added.
Binay, who is the Presidential Adviser on the OFWs Concerns, however, asked the embassy to widen its search.
The Vice President also confirmed that there were no Filipinos injured in last week’s riot in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia involving foreign workers resisting deportation.
He said those implicated were mostly foreign workers from Africa citing a separate report from the embassy.
Binay said the roving team visited police stations in Manfouha, Al Shifah, Aziziyah, and Dirah but there were no detained Filipino workers in any of these police stations.
“According to the Chief Investigating Officer at the Dirah Police Station, their official instructions are to call up the relevant embassy and then request the embassy to provide the travel documents for the detained illegal worker. So far, our embassy has not received any request of this nature,” Binay said.
The Vice President likewise appealed to Filipinos in the Kingdom to remain calm because the Philippine government is ready to provide appropriate assistance.
“The embassy and the consulate continue to coordinate with the authorities for the processing of the final exit visas of those waiting to be repatriated,” he said.
Binay earlier urged OFWs in Saudi Arabia who have not yet enlisted for processing of their exit visas to contact the Philippine Embassy or the Philippine Overseas Labor Office as processing for exit visas will resume this week.
Ambassador Tago also received a message form the Saudi Labor Deputy Minister Mufreg Al-Haqbani giving assurance that Filipinos will be treated well while processing their exit visas.
Migrante-Middle East and North Africa (M-MENA) on Monday called on the officials of Philippine embassy in Riyadh to check if Filipinos were among injured in riots between illegal migrants and Saudi authorities.
Citing police reports, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that riots have ensued last week involving illegal migrants in Manfouha district, a known asylum for many illegal migrants.
Reports indicated that the illegal migrants attacked local Saudis by throwing stones and some with knives on them.
It also reported that a Saudi and an unidentified person were killed while 28 Saudis and 40 expatriates were injured.
Saudi police arrested 561 illegal migrants in its effort to suppress the riot on Saturday.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO