Ten overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were told to believe by a recruitment agent that they will work as fishermen only to find out, upon arrival to Saudi Arabia, there are no such jobs waiting for them, according to Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of Filipino migrants group providing assistance to distress OFWs.
OFWs Richard Mendoza, Jose Alforque, Felipe Batinsela, Ronnie Maro, Arden Unsipedo, Redentor Hubahig, Oliver Perez, Isabelo Salbado, Jupiter Lawan, and Henerio Colis –all were deployed, by batches, on 2010 by Placewell International Services Corporation, a Manila-based recruitment agency with branch offices operating in the Visayas and Mindanao.
“The OFWs applied at the branch offices in Mindanao and Cebu, where most of them came from, of the said agency and were told that a Saudi-based employer is hiring fishermen,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-ME regional coordinator.
Monterona said the OFWs were offered a monthly salary of 1,500 Saudi Riyals, roughly equivalent to P17,000. According to the OFWs they’ve spent around P20,000 for their formalities and the agency said a salary deduction totaling to P60,000 will be deducted from their salary.
“We never received a salary as upon arrival to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia we were barred by Saudi authorities to catch fish as it is prohibited. Only Saudis are allowed to do so,” the OFWs conveyed to Monterona.
Monterona said since they could not perform their job and no incomes for their employer to be able to pay their salaries, the OFWs were forced to run away from their employer.
“I was told by the OFWs that they have sought assistance from POLO in Jeddah since last year but until now they are still awaiting their repatriation,” Monterona added.
Monterona said the OFWs are staying at the consulate-rented flat inside the Hajj terminal in Jeddah.
“The OFWs are jumping from one part-time job to another in order to survive for their daily subsistence, though undocumented, and for them to be able to send remittance for their families in the Philippines,” Monterona added.
“Now they wanted to be home. PH labor officials must assist them and call the attention of their recruitment agency and the employer-sponsor and arrange for their exit clearance and airfare,” Monterona averred.
“We could not understand why POLO officials in Jeddah could not immediately repatriate them.”
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator