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Group: Over 800 OFWs in Saudi await repatriation

MANILA, Philippines – Over 800 stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are expected to troop today to the Philippine consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to request for immediate repatriation.

Migrante-Jeddah chairperson Bob Fajarito said the OFWs who have been awaiting repatriation for more than six months now will march from their temporary shelter at Al-Mina hajj terminal to the Philippine consulate.

"We have been tired waiting for our repatriation amid promises from consular officials and even of Vice President (Jejomar) Binay. We don’t even have food and some have been sick," Fajarito quoted the OFWs as saying.

Last month, Binay visited the government-rented shelter and promised to attend to the OFW’s repatriation and upon his return to Manila.

He said he requested President Aquino to release P24 million for plane tickets of more than 1,000 stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia.

“Most of the stranded are distress OFWs who run away from their abusive employers whose work permit/visa had already expired,” Fajarito said.

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To be repatriated, he said every stranded OFW needs to acquire an exit clearance from their sponsor-employer otherwise they will not be allowed to travel without the required travel document.

“Majority already have their travel documents ready. What’s preventing them to be repatriated is that they don’t have airplane tickets,” he added.

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