The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Tuesday that it is coordinating with the family of Suelito Casal Leong, a Filipino driver based in Saudi Arabia who has been reported missing since January 11, 2005.

Acting Labor and Employment Secretary Manuel G. Imson said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) had assured it would extend assistance to Leong’s family.

Earlier, Leong’s wife, Amalia, sought the help of the OWWA and the Department of Foreign Affairs to find the whereabouts of his husband. OWWA confirmed that Leong is a member and covered by insurance under the OWWA Omnibus Policy.

“It is important that we establish what really happened to him, so OWWA can provide the appropriate assistance to Leong and his family,” Imson said.

Leong, a driver for telecommunications company Detecon Al Saudi Co. Ltd. (DETESAD), failed to return to his employer after running an errand onboard a Toyota Corolla car.

The employer, DETASAD, had written the Al Hamra district police to report their missing employer and to seek assistance in finding him.

“We should avoid speculating at this point because nobody knows yet what really happened to Mr. Leong,” Imson said. The labor official added that Filipino overseas workers particularly those based in the Middle East are advised not to panic but they should also be cognizant of the Philippine government’s continued ban on the deployment of Filipino workers in Iraq.

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