Missing Filipina found safe in Saudi Arabia

Maxxy Santiago, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2018 04:33 AM

A Filipina domestic helper, who was earlier reported in a comatose state at a hospital in Kuwait, was found safe and well in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, government officials said early Thursday morning. 

Authorities found Norisa Manambit at a deportation center in the Arabian Gulf and was scheduled to fly to the Philippines Thursday night.

The search for Manambit came after a video of a comatose patient posted by a Filipina nurse made the rounds on social media.

The Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Kuwait checked all hospitals in Kuwait, but didn't find her.

Labor officials instead found a different comatose patient at Amiri Hospital in Kuwait.

Russel Grace Ocampo, assistance to the nationals unit at the Philippine Embassy, identified the patient as Lelebeth S. Mendoza.

She said the 47-year-old Filipina was hospitalized due to hypertension and aneurysm.

"Her employers have been very cooperative and following up on her condition since she was admitted to the hospital on Feb. 16, 2018," added Ocampo.

To zero in on the other Filipina's location, labor officials coordinated with Kuwait Immigration authorities to check if the alleged missing worker entered Kuwait from the Saudi border.

However, there was no record found of Manambit's arrival that prompted POLO to coordinate with its counterpart in Saudi Arabia.

Nestor Burayag, officer-in-charge of POLO Kuwait, said they were able to confirm Manambit's whereabouts from Dr. Amelito Santiago Adel.

"We got a confirmation today (Thursday) from Dr. Adel, a member of the OWWA augmentation in Dammam, that Norisa Manambit is in the deportation center in Dammam and she is not in comatose. She is not in Kuwait," he said.

Meanwhile, OWWA-ARMM officer-in-charge Amy Crisostomo said Romy Salazar, the husband of Manambit, was also able to identify the Filipina worker.

"The FRA (foreign recruitment agency) in Dammam went to the deportation center to verify if she was there. They took a video of her and ask the husband to identify her. The husband said, "Yes, it's her," she said.

Crisostomo said Manambit was scheduled to fly home Thursday night.

"I also called the agency and they confirmed that she will be arriving between 8 to 9 in the morning (Friday) in Manila. I’m still waiting for the flight details from the FRA," she said.