Give donation to Consortium

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Be alert, cautious during raids by Saudi authorities, migrant group advises OFWs

Receiving several requests for assistance from the families of OFWs who have been jailed for alleged drugs possession in Saudi Arabia, an alliance of Filipino migrant rights group in the Middle East today advised fellow OFWs to be alert and cautious as Saudi authorities have stepped up its anti-drugs campaign and are conducting sporadic raids in selected expatriate workers' accommodations or quarters.


John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said if during the past months Saudi authorities have been noticed active in conducting raid to crack down illegal and undocumented foreign workers in its major cities like Jeddah, Riyadh and in the Eastern region.


We have noticed that the local authorities have shifted on hunting down suspected individuals or groups engage in illegal drugs activities, hence we should be alert and cautious not to be implicated,” Monterona added.


On September, Monterona cited the case of two Filipino workers sent to jail after Saudi authorities raided their accommodation in Hail City, part of Saudi's central region and 1000km far from Riyadh.


The authorities have allegedly found a sachet of heroin on their possession, though the 2 OFWs denied the allegations; on mid-October, the court have sentenced them for 3 years imprisonment and 600 lashes, and then they will be deported,” Monterona added.


The 2 OFWs' families have sought assistance to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the PHL embassy in Riyadh to file an appeal.


Last week, Monterona said another reported case of alleged drug possession reached to their attention as the family of the OFW had sought assistance to Migrante.


On the case referral sent to Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) via email, the family said they have been informed that OFW Danilo (not his real name) was “put to jail -because of an alleged association with a drug pusher in his pad”.


The pad was said to have been raided by police and those persons who were living there were taken to jail, including OFW Danilo,” a relative of the OFW said on his email to Migrante.


Monterona said OFW Danilo may have been wrongly implicated as he is about 3 months in Saudi Arabia and that he is only staying at his pad after work. His family said he is “shy and a submissive” person.


Monterona said Migrante welfare case officers in Dammam have already been informed to follow closely the case of OFW Danilo and coordinate with the POLO-OWWA officials in Eastern region in finding the whereabouts of OFW Danilo who is believed now detained in Dammam central jail.


These cases would have serve as a warning to our fellow OFWs to be alert and cautious to avoid being implicated on illegal drugs activities; unfortunately the local authorities are closely keeping their watch to foreign workers like OFWs and other Asian workers,” Monterona added.


Monterona, likewise, urges the PHL posts in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Region to issue a corresponding advisory to the Filipino community and various OFWs organizations to caution and remind them to take extra care.









No comments:

Post a Comment