The long wait is about to end for the twenty-eight overseas Filipino workers who were detained for petty crimes in Saudi Arabia jails.
Migrante-Middle East (M-ME), a Filipino migrants' rights group, said Wednesday there are 28 male OFW inmates who have been cleared after they were asked to undergo a formality locally known as basamat (clearance formalities such as fingerprinting, filling up of clearance form).
John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-ME regional coordinator, said he was informed by OFW inmate Farouq Malik Bayabao, during a phone conversation on Monday, last week Saudi authorities asked the inmates to undergo basamat including him.
Monterona said there are now 28 cleared; 23 are from the Malaz central jail in Riyadh, while 5 inmates are from Al-Hair jail, 25 miles south of Riyadh.
Monterona said on his group monitoring there are about 200 OFW inmates in Malaz central jail, while 50 in Al-Hail.
Based on Migrante-ME estimates there are 800 to 1,200 OFW inmates in various jails in Saudi Arabia.
"We are hoping that more inmates will be cleared, especially those who have been staying more than there jail term," Monterona added.
Monterona said some of the 28 conveyed their apprehension saying they 'have no money for their airplane tickets.'
"As far as I know, if their employer will not give airplane ticket, the host government will provide," Monterona explained.
Last week there were 29 women OFW inmates released and repatriated from Al-Nisa jail, the Riyadh-based correctional for women.
"What we have heard is that there are all in all 125 OFW inmates granted pardon, but we are still awaiting waiting confirmation and the list from embassy," Monterona averred.
Monterona calls on the PH embassy officials to follow closely the formalities of those who have been granted pardon so that they will be sent home without further delay and join their families in the Philippines.
On February, upon his return from the United States for medical check-up King Abdullah announced the granting of Royal pardon covering all petty crimes offenders without private rights liabilities.