SAUDI ARABIA – Three Filipino massage therapists were stranded at the Riyadh airport after encountering a problem with their employer.
The OFWs waited all day but nobody picked them up at the airport. The three didn't even have pocket money to buy food. Their plight was brought to the attention of advocacy group Patnubay and to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO).
When POLO officers arrived, they found out that the job description stated on their visas is not the same with the contracts they signed in the Philippines.
"itong mga ganitong practice ay hindi na maaring mangyari pa dito sa Saudi Arabia dahil ito nga ang nagiging pagbabago noong correction period o yung nakaraang amnesty program," said Labor Attache Resty dela Fuente.
The POLO official advised applicants in the Philippines to make sure that they know what jobs they are applying for, carefully read contracts before signing it, and double check their visas.
They must also know the names and contact information of their employers.
"Ano ba ang pwede nilang gawin kung sila ay ma-stranded sa airport? Alam man lang dapat ang POLO, at kung hindi ibinibigay ang ganitong mga payo ng kanilang ahensya ay magduda na sila," dela Fuente added.
The three were only turned over to their employer a day after.
Meanwhile, POLO vowed to monitor the new OFWs following the discrepancy on their visas and contracts.
For its part, Patnubay also urged OFWs who will be working for the first time in Saudi Arabia to also visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for additional information about working in the kingdom. Report from Roland Blanco, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau