Stranded Filipinos blast OWWA officials for asking air fare

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Author: RODOLFO ESTIMO JR. | ARAB NEWS

Tuesday 1 March 2011

RIYADH: Stranded Filipino workers are complaining that two officials from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Jeddah are asking for money for their plane tickets so they can be repatriated.

“I called Consul General Ezzedin H. Tago about it, but he denied the claims. He promised, however, to look into it,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, told Arab News on Tuesday.
He said that the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in question are currently in custody at a deportation center in Jeddah and had contacted Marlon Gatdula, Migrante-Saudi Arabia deputy secretary-general, to complain and ask for his help.
Monterona added that he had been receiving the same complaint from other stranded OFWs.
“For this reason, we at Migrante-Middle East are urging President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino lll to issue a guideline on this matter,” Monterona said.
He added that the OWWA is supposed to have money for the repatriation of stranded OFWs.
This is because OFWs pay membership fees, he said, so in case they have to be repatriated there is money for their plane tickets.
“It's logical to assume that since these stranded OFWs are not working, such as those in the deportation center in Jeddah, they don't have money for plane tickets. Couldn't these OWWA officials realize that?” he said.
“There is nothing wrong if OWWA has to solicit funds from politicians and businessmen to raise money for the plane tickets of stranded OFWs. But the air fare should not be a burden and cause for delay for the stranded OFWs' repatriation.”

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