Sunday, December 26, 2010

Stranded Pinay OFW skips from PHL shelter in KSA

A stranded overseas Filipino worker staying at a Philippine government shelter in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia bolted off with her child, an official said over the weekend.

Philippine Labor Attaché Albert Valenciano said the woman likely sneaked out of the shelter in Riyadh because did not want to go home yet.

“She escaped with her child because she did not yet want to go home. She probably wanted to stay and work to earn," Valenciano said in an article posted Sunday on Saudi news site Arab News.

The shelter, run by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), is known as the Bahay Kalinga or BK.

While Valenciano did not identify the woman who left with her child, militant migrants' group Migrante described the woman as a Filipino Muslim.

“A case officer at POLO allows the maids to work but they have to return to the BK at night... that was also how the maid was able to escape with her child," Migrante Middle East coordinator John Monterona said.

The Arab News report said the women staying at the shelter are mostly maids who ran away from their sponsors and some of whom had even been raped by their employers.

Some had been accused of committing immoral acts punishable under Saudi law, such as getting into illicit relationships either with fellow Filipinos or other nationals after running away. They have cases pending before the Saudi Social Welfare Administration.

Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor and Valenciano met Vice Governor of Riyadh Prince Sattam after Ramadan to arrange the women’s repatriation to the Philippines.

“We have submitted all the necessary documents to the concerned authorities who promised that they would do their level best to help the women and their children leave for the Philippines. We’ll wait for the go-ahead for their repatriation," Villamor said.

The embassy was also told that a case officer would study the documents. Valenciano said none of the women had criminal cases against them. – MRT/VS GMANews.TV

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