Malacanang on Tuesday assured that the Philippine government is ready to assist some undocumented Filipino workers who allegedly abused amid a crackdown on illegal migrants in Saudi Arabia.
Reports said that a total of 30 Filipino workers were abused by Saudi police before being sent back to the Philippines.
The Filipinos claimed that Saudi police rounded them up and placed them in a crowded cell for four days before they were paraded from the immigration center to the airport. They were among an estimated 6,700 Filipino workers stranded in parts of Saudi Arabia where an amnesty for undocumented foreigners ended on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the Philippine government is doing everything to protect and safeguard the rights of OFWs in Saudi.
“Tungkulin po ng ating pamahalaan na ipagtanggol ang karangalan at karapatan ng lahat ng mamamayan [It is the duty of the government to defend the reputation and rights of its citizens],” Coloma said, as he assured that the government is prepared to assist those who would to file a formal complaint.
“Kung meron pong sapat na katibayan na ito ay naganap, at sila ay handang magharap ng pormal na usapin, tutulungan po sila ng ating pamahalaan na magawaran sila ng katarungan sa kanilang sinapit [If they have evidence of this alleged incident, and they are ready to file a formal complaint, the government will help them attain justice],” he said.
Asked if there is a need for a reevaluation of our policy with regards to sending workers not just Saudi Arabia, but also in the Middle East, Coloma said “this practice has flourished over four decades.”
“If I recall correctly, that was then heralded as a stopgap measure while dealing with economic adjustment problems largely brought about by the oil crisis,” he said.
However, Coloma cited that with the economic gains, the Aquino government is “vigorously promoting the program of inclusive growth” for Filipino workers to return to the country.
“Isa sa mga layunin ng ating pamahalaan sa ating programa ng [One of the goals of this government is for] sustainable long-term inclusive growth; that we are able to create sufficient job opportunities, that we are able to create attractive job opportunities,” Coloma added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE