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MANILA, Philippines - The Filipino migrant rights group Migrante-Middle East is pressing the Philippine embassy in Riyadh to help an undocumented and ailing overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who wishes to be home.
“The deplorable situation of OFW Nemencio Valencia, 68 years old, from Lipa City, Batangas was reported to our Migrante officers in Riyadh by Leon Catameo, a concerned fellow OFW,” said M-ME regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona, who is now based in Doha, Qatar.
He cited a report from officers of the Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS), an affiliate of M-ME, that Valencia is ailing and his health condition is deteriorating.
“He stopped working for years. He managed to survive with his friends and fellow OFWs’ contributions for his food and medicines,” said Monterona.
Valencia became undocumented after he ran away from his employer 10 years ago. He worked as a taxi driver but was forced to stop because, being undocumented, he feared being apprehended by local police.
“He tried to ask assistance from the PH embassy for his repatriation but he was told to raise 8,000 Saudi rials (roughly 90,000 pesos) as a penalty for overstaying,” Monterona added.
Monterona asked the PH embassy in Riyadh why it failed to provide him the needed assistance. “For one, the PH embassy could endorse to OWWA or its main office in Manila requesting a budget for OFW Valencia’s repatriation. Or it could ask the Filipino community to donate so that it could raise the needed amount to pay for his penalty.”
“OFW Valencia’s status, of being undocumented, should not be cited as reason why the PH embassy did not extend a hand to help him and it continuously failed to provide assistance to him,” Monterona averred.
The OFW leader called on the Aquino administration through Vice President Jejomar Binay, also presidential adviser of OFWs concerns, to order the DFA and its post in Riyadh to immediately attend to Valencia and work for his immediate repatriation.
‘I don’t think if the Saudi immigration authorities would object for OFW Valencia’s repatriation considering his deteriorating health condition. It’s just a matter of giving priority and properly attending his case so that he could be repatriated and join his loved ones in Batangas,” Monterona ended.