Sep 18, 2010

Jeddah post warns Pinoys vs repatriation fixers 09/17/2010 | 08:27 PM

The Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah has warned overstaying and runaway Filipinos in Saudi Arabia against paying fixers who promise to facilitate their repatriation for a fee.

The Consulate issued the warning after receiving complaints from two Filipinas, who claimed they were swindled by a man who promised to assist them in processing their repatriation.

According to the victims, the man – who goes by the names Hassan, Toto or Joe – claimed to have connections or contacts with Saudi authorities that could expedite their return to the Philippines.

The unnamed victims came from two different places in Saudi Arabia and traveled all the way to Jeddah, the Consulate said.

They victims said they paid Hassan a total of 6,500 Saudi riyals (about P76,500), but later realized that the man will never deliver on his promise.

The victims then approached the Consulate to avail of its “voluntary deportation" process, conducted through the Hajj Seaport Terminal as arranged with local authorities, at the expense of the Philippine Government.

“The Consulate urges all overstaying Filipinos in the Kingdom to be very cautious and circumspect in dealing with individuals who pretend to have connections and contacts with Saudi authorities, and could facilitate repatriation to the Philippines for a fee," the Consulate advisory read.

It also advised Filipinos to directly contact the Consulate for matters relating to repatriation.

Last month, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said at least 800 Filipinos were still stranded in Jeddah despite government efforts to send them home. (See: Some 800 Filipinos still stranded in Jeddah — OWWA)

“The 800 remaining OFWs in the Jeddah center could be growing again as more runaways and unregistered OFWs from outside Jeddah seek sanctuary," OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon earlier said.

She said the agency has shouldered the repatriation of 466 OFWs and their children from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from June 27 to August 9 this year.

A total of 1,757 stranded OFWs have been repatriated during the first six months of 2010. OWWA said it repatriated 1,903 OFWs in 2009.—Jerrie M. Abella/JV, GMANews.TV

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