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MANILA -- After spending 23 years in Saudi Arabia, 65-year-old overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Nemesio Valencia is now on his way home and is due to arrive in Manila today, accompanied by a staff member of the Philippine embassy in Riyadh, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday.
His repatriation was arranged and facilitated by the embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO).
According to the DFA, Valencia arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1989 and absconded from his employer after three years of employment.
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.
The embassy paid his immigration penalties amounting to SR 8,000 and provided for his airfare back home.
Payment for immigration penalties incurred by Valencia, after a decade of illegally working in the Kingdom, was sourced from the DFA’s assistance-to-nationals (ATN) funds.
Prior to his departure, embassy staff brought Valencia to the hospital for a medical check-up.
Valencia thanked the officers and staff of the Embassy and POLO-Riyadh for their tireless assistance.
“Nagpapasalat po ako kay Ambassador Tago at sa Embassy sa tulong na ibinigay nila sa akin. Nasasabik na po akong makita ang pamilya ko sa Batangas (I thank Ambassador Tago and the embassy for the help they've given me. I really want to see my family in Batangas),” said Valencia before boarding his flight.
Philippine Ambassador to Riyadh Ezzedin Tago wished the 65-year-old and his family a warm reunion on his homecoming.
“After 23 of being away, Mr. Valencia will now be reunited with his family,” said Ambassador Tago.