MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia will look into allegations made by some undocumented Filipino workers that they were abused by Saudi police before being sent back to the Philippines.
"Wala po kami natanggap na report maliban sa nabasa namin sa dyaryo. Vine-verify namin kung galing dito sa Riyadh at kung ano ang kasong 'yun. But it would seem strange that that happened before the end of the amnesty. It is important that we verify," Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago told radio dzMM.
Tago noted that over 4,000 undocumented Filipinos have been repatriated to the Philippines, but they have not received any complaint of abuse.
"Sa 4,000 na umuwi na, walang ganung reklamo," he said.
Tago said he only found out about the allegations of abuse on the newspapers, so he ordered an investigation.
"Once verified, we will bring it up with the host government," he added.
On Monday, an Agence France-Presse report quoted some OFWs who arrived from Saudi Arabia as saying they were abused amid a crackdown on illegal migrants there.
"They treated us like animals," said domestic helper Amor Roxas. She claimed Saudi police rounded them up and placed them in a crowded cell for four days before they were paraded from the immigration center to the airport.
Another OFW Yvonne Montefeo said their feet were chained by the police.
Saudi authorities started its crackdown on illegal foreign workers on Monday.
However, Tago said he has received assurance from the Saudi government that they will not arrest undocumented Filipinos whose travel documents are being processed and have requested for repatriation.
Tago also clarified why the number of stranded Filipinos and those waiting for their exit clearance are not the same.
"'Yung difference in numbers dahil may iba tayong kababayan na nag-apply ng both passport at saka travel documents. In fact, umabot ng 2,000 ang duplication," he said.
A report indicated more than 6,000 Pinoys are stranded in various parts of Saudi Arabia.
Tago said their list shows only 236 women and 113 men in Riyadh are waiting for their papers. In Jeddah, there are 921 Filipinos still waiting for their exit visas.
Tago also shared some news about the procedures for the final exit of undocumented Filipinas in Riyadh.
"Nakatanggap kami ng information about procedures para sa final exit ng mga kababaihan dito sa Riyadh at based on representations namin, nagpadala sila ng sulat sa amin ngayon that magpapadala sila ng committee sa aming shelter for the processing of the females that will start sometime next week," he said. - With reports from Agence France-Presse and DZMM