The Saudi Arabian government has been ungrateful with the reported abuse of undocumented Filipino workers who were deported because of the Saudization policy, a House leader said on Wednesday.
Rep. Walden Bello of Akbayan party-list, Chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, expressed such sentiments in light of the reports that the undocumented Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia were made to walk with their feet in chains in the host country’s airport.
“The Saudi government is ungrateful towards its foreign workers. Despite being instrumental in running Saudi Arabia’s economy, the hundreds of thousands of foreign workers, especially the OFWs, are treated as an expendable resource by their government,” Bello said.
The Saudization policy, implemented last November 4, is the crackdown on the undocumented workers in Saudi Arabia who mostly hail from the Philippines, Indonesia and Bangladesh, among others. The Saudization was implemented after the period for amnesty for undocumented foreign workers to regularize their employment status in the country expired.
“At a time when the rest of the world has stepped into modernity by respecting universally recognized principles of human rights, the Saudi Arabian government has stubbornly clung to barbaric practices. While its economy may be in the twenty-first century, its respect and appreciation for human rights is two centuries behind,” Bello pointed out.
At least 4,000 undocumented Filipino workers have been repatriated back to the country as a result of the Saudization.
“We are appalled by accounts from OFWs themselves describing their ordeal. Nothing short of a diplomatic action from our government must be taken to seek an apology from the Saudi government for such barbaric and dehumanizing actions to prevent its recurrence,” Bello added.
In closing, Bello vowed to investigate such reports of abuse against the Filipino workers and closely look into the response taken by the Philippine government in a Committee hearing set on November 27.
LLANESCA T. PANTI