By ARAB NEWS
JEDDAH: An anonymous Saudi man has offered to pay for the costs to repatriate stranded Filipinos who have been camping outside the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah for the past two weeks.
According to Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of Filipino migrants group providing assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in difficult circumstances, the Saudi was shocked at conditions in the camp when he visited it on Friday and heard from the group’s leaders of their plight.
For the past three months, over a thousand stranded OFWs including wives and children have been forced to stay in “temporary” accommodation at Madinatul Hujjaj (pilgrim camp) at Jeddah port, paid for by the consulate. Initially, they were told they would be repatriated by April. Two weeks ago, angry at the non-appearance of promised tickets from the Foreign Ministry in Manila and the necessary paperwork to leave, some 200 of them built a makeshift camp outside the consulate to pressurize Filipino diplomats into faster action.
Migrante’s regional coordinator, John Leonard Monterona, said that the Saudi man, who requested anonymity, had asked the stranded Filipinos to submit a list of those who already had travel documents. The anonymous benefactor is quoted as saying that he was particularly “worried about the situation of the children and women staying at the camp as the temperature is rising and summer approaching.”
On Saturday, the day after his visit to the camp, the man sent his staff to make a list of the stranded. Initially 72 names were given. “He is willing to purchase 120 tickets and we are closely coordinating with his staff,” Monterona said.