RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The wait will soon be over for a 66-year old Filipino who has not seen his family in 25 years.
A frail-looking Nemecio Valencia literally lived on a couch in an apartment for about a year.
A fellow OFW who recently moved into the flat where Valencia was staying, started a Facebook campaign to help the old man.
“Bilang kapwa niya manggagawa dito ay sinusubukan na tulungan siya na maiparating sa ating gobyerno ang sinapit ng kawawang manggagawa. Humihingi din po ako ng kaunting tulong sa inyo na ipamahagi ang kwentong ito para mabigyang pansin ng ating gobyerno,” said the concerned OFW.
Valencia absconded from his employer in 1997 because of his mounting debt as a taxi driver.
“Ang nangyari, noong katagal-tagalan na, hindi ko na makaya ang boundary,” he said.
Balitang Middle East was informed by a concerned citizen about the plight of the former OFW in Riyadh.
With the advocacy group Patnubay, Valencia’s condition was relayed to the Assistance to Nationals Section of the Philippine Embassy.
Consul Roussel Reyes said the embassy received Valencia’s case last May 17.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) shouldered the payment of the penalty of Valencia’s Iqama which expired in 2002.
Meanwhile, Balitang Middle East was able to get in touch with one of the three children of the OFW in Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas.
Eileen Valencia, the eldest child, said they have not seen or heard from their father for about 25 years.
“Ako, bilang panganay sa pamilya, hindi ako tumigil para hanapin (siya),” said Eileen.
Eileen said their father did not tell them about his real condition in Saudi Arabia.
The embassy is now preparing Valencia’s plane ticket for his immediate return to the Philippines.
He appealed to his town mates in Saudi Arabia who will spending their vacation in the Philippines to help accompany him in his journey back home.
“Sa mga Batanggenyo, narito ako na inyong kababayan na gustong umuwi. Kung kayo ay magbabakasyon, isabay naman po ninyo ako,” he said. Report from Roland Blanco, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau