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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Departing OFW held at Saudi Airport for carrying copper


AN official of Filipino migrants’ rights group, Migrant-Middle East, today firmly reminded fellow OFWs in Saudi Arabia and in other Arab states to keep themselves away from risky situations and never give the authorities to find fault to avoid being nabbed or imprisoned.


John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, issued the advice after a departing OFW was nabbed by Saudi immigration authorities on December 11 at the King Khalid International Airport for carrying 150 kilos of copper inside his baggage.


“The Riyadh-based brother of OFW Vicente (not his real name) called me on December 11 asking for help for his brother who has been held at the King Khalid Airport, though he failed to mention the reason why his brother was held by the immigration police,” Monterona said.


Monterona added hours later, the brother called him again saying OFW Vicente has been transferred to Azizia jail in Riyadh as there are 150 kilos of copper in his possession inside his baggage.


OFW Vicente, 30 years old, from Haen, Nueva Ecija, works as a ‘furnish’ operator for a Riyadh-based molding shop which primary material used is copper. After completing his 2-year contract, he resigned from his work and is about to leave on December 11 when airport authorities held him and was investigated for carrying copper inside his baggage.


“On the same day, I have endorsed his case to the attention of the Philippine embassy-Assistance to the Nationals section (ANS) and have requested to sent a staff to provide representation to the subject OFW and to immediately inform his employer-sponsor,” Monterona added.


Yesterday, it was known that he is still staying in Azizia jail and the police is about to file a case of theft against him. “The police are just waiting for the decision by his employer-sponsor,” Monterona added.


Monterona said he had advised his brother to get in touch with their Human resources or administration manager to inform their employer-sponsor and ask not to file a case against his brother and let him go home.


“We are again reminding our fellow OFWs to avoid doing things that would put themselves at risk especially when it comes to the local laws and prohibitions imposed by the host government,” Monterona ended.


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