There are about 250 female Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) residing at the Bahay Kalinga (BK) center in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia waiting for the Philippine officials to get them back to their country. With each passing day their frustration is mounting primarily because the process is extremely slow. Another cause for the frustration is the fact that the Bahay Kalinga center has capacity to house up to 120 people. With 250 females lodging there, the place has become extremely crowded and suffocating for these women. Things have been on such a standstill that a few have been thinking of suicide as a way to gain the attention of authorities and to force them to act faster. These women have been living away from their families and home for quite some time now and want to go back as soon as possible. However, the lack of concern shown by Philippine embassy is making them lose all hope gradually. Just the fact that BK is now crowded with 250 women shows how slow the process has been. Had they been efficient, the number would not have escalated so quickly.
The management at Bahay Kalinga does try to keep them busy with daily chores and sports but it fails to keep their minds off of what is certainly an unpredictable future for them. They miss their families and countries and have not seen them in a long time. The OFWs also lay blame on the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh (POLO-Riyadh) and the Assistance to Nationals Section (ANS) of the embassy. While POLO is responsible for looking into labor related cases such as working conditions and minimum pay, ANS deals with police cases faced by Filipino workers such as drugs and sexual assaults. These are both departments of the Phi*lippine embassy and they have both shown a very laidback behavior.
Many of these women are illegal immigrants in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who find it hard to land jobs the legal way because of their immigrant status. Others are those who had been working as maids and housekeepers for Arab families but have now left their jobs. For those of you who do not know, it is a common practice to hire Filipino women as nannies for their children in Arab families who can afford them. They are given complete accommodation facilities. However, many of the OFWs were not happy with their jobs. Common reasons cited were poor salary, discrimination and maltreatment at the hand of their employers. Hence, having given up on this country as a means to provide livelihood, they are anxiously waiting for their country to rescue them back and repatriate them.
We wish the Philippine embassy would speed up the process and help these women reach their homes and reunite with their family. It would also mean Bahay Kalinga will get some free space to help out further Overseas Filipino women.
Source: Arab News
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