27 undocumented OFWs nabbed in Saudi crackdown

ANTIPOLO CITY, November 25, 2010—Twenty-seven (27) Filipino workers were arrested in Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom has intensified its campaign against illegal aliens working and living there.

Migrante Middle East coordinator John Leonard Monterona told CBCPNews, the 27 undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were nabbed by the Saudi police the night of November 23, as reported by their local chapter in Al-Khobar.

“That night, a composite team from Jawasat police and mutawa (cultural police) started the crackdown by raiding accommodations and houses at Tukbah, Al-Khobar, where suspected undocumented migrants are staying. Earlier the Royal Government announced that they are also up against drug mules,” Monterona said in his email.

The migrants’ right watchdog, meanwhile, appeals to the Saudi government to respect the rights of undocumented migrants, including OFWs in the conduct of its intensified campaign to hunt ‘illegal’ and undocumented migrants. Monterona said that torture is rampant in Saudi jails as a form of “interrogation”.

The group also appeals to the King, His Royal Highness Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to consider granting general amnesty to illegal and undocumentend migrant workers there. They also urged the Philippine Embassy, under the leadership of Charges de Affairs, Ad interim, Ezzadin Tago, to make the same appeal to the Saudi government and properly represent those apprehended.

Moreover, Migrante also requested the Aquino government, through the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Foreign Affairs to extensively and intensely lobby the legalization of all undocumented OFWs there, giving them option of either be repatriated or stay and continue to work there. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews)