MANILA, Philippines — Citizens online asked to react about the crackdown on illegal workers in Saudi Arabia said affected citizens, especially Filipinos, should abide by Saudi’s rules.
Many, however, worried about reported harsh treatment of undocumented Filipino workers in that country, while some said the Philippine government should step up to the task of protecting and assisting nationals.
According to the Philippine consulate in Jeddah, undocumented workers in Saudi Arabia, including Filipino workers who do not have travel documents, would be arrested with the beginning of the crackdown Monday.
It was reported that there are about 1,000 labor inspectors visiting around 500,000 establishments in Saudi to arrest illegal foreign workers and bring them to deportation centers.
Not only the illegal workers would be arrested, also those who would provide shelter to them will be “punished” by authorities in Saudi.
News program TV Patrol’s social media accounts on Monday posed the question, “Ano’ng masasabi mo sa paghihigpit ng Saudi sa mga foreign workers kung saan apektado ang libu-libong OFWs?”
On Facebook, those who replied to the question said it is just right for authorities in Saudi to implement laws against illegal foreign workers.
But one concern raised by Facebook user Kelly Junior is that while illegal workers are being arrested, Saudi should not be violent toward these people.
“For me okay lang na maghigpit sila, it’s for everybody’s protection. Pero sana kung may mahuli silang ‘di sumusunod sa patakaran nila, huwag sila maging bayolente,” she said.
According to Medaria Untong, it is Saudi’s right to enforce its rules. She said, “Karapatan ng Saudi Arabia na mag-implement ng kahit na anong policy maprotektahan lamang ang kanilang lugar.”
She added that in Saudi, for as long as you follow rules and regulations, authorities will leave you alone.
Medaria also showed sympathy to those who were arrested, saying what is being done to them is “inhumane” and the government should give them full support.
“Dito sa Saudi mabubuhay ka ng [sic] tahimik at matiwasay kung susunod ka lang sa kanilang pamamalakad. Subalit sa mga kapatid nating undocumented, hindi makatao ang kanilang nararanasan sa kasalukuyan. Kailangan ng buong suporta ng ating gobyerno upang sila ay makauwi sa lalong madaling panahon,” she added.
For Facebook user Dxtech Jay'reem T, rules cannot be changed, and since these Filipinos are working in Saudi, they should abide by the rules.
He said, “Batas ay batas! Dapat sundin ‘yan lalo na ang mga OFW sa Saudi. Maging responsable naman tayo sa mga bagay bagay na dapat tayo rin naman ang makikinabang.”
Commending Saudi, he said that it is partially these OFWs’ fault, since they have been given many chances to fix their papers, and yet they still chose to procrastinate.
He said, “In fairness sa Saudi, makailang beses na rin binigyan palugit ang mga OFW doon para asikasuhin nila mga papeles nila... Tayo kasi mga Filipino ang hihilig natin sa last minute processing kaya minsan naaabutan na tayo ng deadline.”
According to Michael Jauod, “Tama lang po na maghigpit sila dahil ‘yan ang batas nila, bakit ang Pinoy takot sa batas nila, pag nan’dito pasaway, hindi ba p’wedeng maging mahigpit tayo sa batas para may takot din tayo sa gobyerno? Masyado na kasi tayong “democracy”, dapat mag karoon ng pinuno na kamay na bakal ang gamit.”
For Helc Rej Bayno Dagaraga, if you are a legal OFW, with documented papers, there is no need for you to worry.
“Kung ‘yan ang batas nila at maipapatupad ng [sic] patas, well, tama lang, ‘wag lang ningas kogon kagaya sa ‘Pinas, dami na napatunayan nagnakaw harap-hapan pa, eh wala ding nagyayari, kung legal kang OFW bakit ka matatakot? ‘Yun lang,” Helc said.
On Twitter, netizens commend Saudi for firmly enforcing the law.
According to Aldrin T. (@thetuks), it is a “good move” by the Saudi government.
He said, “Good move by the Saudi government. This means less illegal to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous Saudis.”
For Janet Alegre (@janet_alegre), Saudi is simply protecting itself, as well as those OFWs arrested.
They need papers for them to be legal workers.
“Tama lang naman na ipatupad ang batas nila. Okay na rin ‘yun para may proteksyon rin [sic] ang mga OFW natin dahil wala silang papeles,” she said.
Daphne Daze V Zabala (@daphnezabala) shared the same sentiment as Janet Alegre, saying “They have the right to protect the country via strict rules. To enjoy the right to work, workers should obey.”
According to Zdref Azubar (@ferdzy), this move is “needed” by Saudi Arabia to protect their own country from fake agencies and employers.
“Kailangan na kasing linisin ang bansa nila laban sa mga manlolokong agency at employer. Okay na rin ‘yun para makaiwas sila sa panloloko,” said Zdref.
For Rowiejay Corpuz (@RowiejayC), even though it is Saudi’s right to implement such action, these OFWs are seeking for our government’s help, and the government should do everything in its power to help these Filipinos.
“Karapatan nila ‘yan. Gawin na lang sana ng gobyerno ang parts nila para tulungan ang mga undocumented na OFWs,” he said.