MANILA – A total of 62 overseas Filipino workers are currently stranded and without work in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The group's sponsor was a landscaping company and their classification in their iqamas stated that they are irrigation laborers. However, they were made to work as service crew and delivery drivers for a fast food company.
"Dapat bigyan din tayo ng pansin ng pamahalaan natin gaya ng nangyari sa amin ngayon, hindi basta-basta ang sakripisyong nangyari dito sa amin, kahit sa panaginip, di ko ito pinapanaginipan," said Juvy Bacasnot.
They have been staying in their employer's accommodations for over a month now.
With the help of the advocacy group Patnubay, the group's complaints have been brought to the Ministry of Interior and to the office of the Governor in Riyadh.
"Para sa asawa ko, huwag kayong magalala kasi may mga taong tumutulong sa amin," said Petronio Naelga Jr.
While waiting for developments in their case, the group found help in the Filipino community in Riyadh.
"Malaking tulong po yung mga pagkain na dumating sa amin, sa mga tulong, kasi kahit papaano nabawasan ang problema naming," said Franz Michael Pastera.
It was back in 2011 when Patnubay urged the Ministry of Labor to monitor subcontractors and manpower service companies to ensure that the nitaqat is being implemented correctly.
But the group also learned that the Philippine Overseas Labor Administration (POEA) has been approving contracts without the approval from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO).
"Sa sitwasyon namin para silang walang alam kasi kung may alam sila di na kami ipapasa-pasa," said Alfred Acapulco. Balitang Middle East