POLO shelters undocumented Filipinos after Saudi deadline on the correction of stay ends

Date Posted: January 21st, 2014 07:37 AM

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh and Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are taking in for shelter and assistance Filipinos from all over Saudi Arabia who failed to correct their residency status after the extended deadline offered by the Saudi government ended on 3 November.

"Our POLO in Riyadh and Jeddah reported to the home office their readiness to shelter illegal Filipinos in the Kingdom, including OFWs, even as Saudi authorities announced there will be no more extension for the correction of status of illegal or undocumented workers despite requests for extension of grace period from the governments of India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and the Philippines," said Baldoz.

In his report to Secretary Baldoz, Labor Attache’ to Riyadh Rustico Dela Fuente said the situation in Saudi Arabia is normal a day after the deadline and there is no movement of OFWs to the Philippine Embassy and Consulate or to the POLOs.

Dela Fuente said that should there be an inflow, all seeking assistance shall be admitted to the POLO premises and will be provided all forms of assistance, including food and shelter, medication, and transport.

To reinforce POLO capability to ensure protection of and assistance to illegal Filipino nationals, Baldoz has ordered Undersecretary Danilo Cruz to sit down with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration--insofar as livelihood and other employment-related benefits for active and inactive member-OFWs--as well as other DOLE agencies, and to come up with a P50 million supplementary budget for the needs of those who will be affected by the Saudi crackdown against illegal Filipinos.

"Our assistance for the repatriation of those who wish to go home are also continuing," said Baldoz, stating that there are still 1,488 Filipinos awaiting clearance from the Saudi immigration before they can leave, while 206 Filipinos are presently sheltered at the Bahay Kalinga or Migrant Overseas Workers Resource Center.

The POLOs coordinate with the OWWA on all forms of assistance being given all repatriated illegal workers.

"As of 2 November, 727 Filipinos--428 women and 299 men--have already called up the Philippine Embassy asking inquiries for shelter. They may proceed immediately to the POLO," Baldoz added.

She finally said the POLO in Riyadh and Jeddah continue to monitor the status of illegal Filipinos seeking to correct their work status and transfer of employment, and urging those who wish to seek assistance to call, fax, or email the Philippine Embassy/Consulate hotlines 483-2201 to 3 or 676-3868; fax nos.: 619-5223 or 483-2204; or e-mail at polo_riyadh@philembassy-riyadh.org; or poloriyadh2010@yahoo.com. 

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