Friday, January 21, 2011

DFA: 8 'ran-away' OFWs, 11 kids repatriated from Saudi

Eight Filipino household workers and their 11 children were repatriated to the Philippines this week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Friday.

The DFA said the mothers and their children arrived in Manila from Dammam Monday afternoon aboard a Saudi Arlines flight.

Representatives from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) welcomed the repatriates upon their arrival for debriefing and psycho-social intervention in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), according to a news release
posted on the DFA website.

Cases involving "ran-away" mothers with undocumented children in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are regarded as especially sensitive, the DFA noted.

The agency said that Saudi laws give no legal recognition to children born of unwed parents and provide little or no social welfare protection for them.

The DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers'Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) provided for the repatriates' return tickets.

According to the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, the repatriation followed the successful negotiation by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office for Easter Region Operations (POLO-ERO) with Al Khobar police and immigration authorities for the issuance of their exit visas.

POLO had earlier sought and was granted temporary custody of the OFWs and their children to shield them from further detention and imprisonment.

Food and medicines for the mothers and their children were also provided through cooperation with POLO, the Office of the Social Welfare Attache and Filipino community leaders since their arrest by police authorities last November 24.

"I wish to recognize the joint efforts made by officials of the Embassy, the POLO-ERO and the Office of the Social Welfare Attache in Al Khobar for the successful repatriation of the 8 mothers and their 11 children. The Embassy will continue to extend the necessary assistance to all kababayans in need," said Philippine Embassy Charge d'affaires Ezzedin Tago.

The sponsorship system, where one's entry into and exit from the Kingdom is facilitated through a local sponsor, effectively restricts the repatriation of undocumented individuals born in the Kingdom. — TJD, GMANews.TV

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