On 16th of January, Migrante Saudi Arabia received the following appeal/s from a certain "Jaime T. Gonzaga" (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Eastern Region concerning 16 OFWs "languishing" in the detention cells of the Immigration Police in Dammam. His email says:
Please find below message being circulated in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia re "Kababayan" languishing in Jawasat Dammam jail.
If you are still not aware of this, kindly provide the necessary action to alleviate them from their present predicament. Thank you very much and God bless us all.
What follows was a lengthy email forwarded and re-forwarded by our kababayans, a virtual example of how information is passed on in the age of internet. The email as originally posted by a certain Jeorge G. Antido on 12 January reads:
-----Original Message-----Migrante KSA immediately issued an appeal and sent it to the concerned government agencies, among them the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh to address our kababayan's concern.
From: Antido, Jeorge G
Sent: Saturday, January 12, 2008 9:56 AM
Subject: FW: Jawasat Eastern Detainee
Paki forward nalang kasi kawawa naman.
Galing ako kanina sa Jawasat Dammam, Bale may 16 na Pinoy ang naka Kulong mostly ang kaso ay Runaway.
Kinuha ko ang mga pangalan nila at paki Post mo sa site natin, Baka may mga mkakilala sa kanila,dahil matatagal na don sa loob,
1.Ronnie M. Tosoc
9. Arnold Kamansa
12. Daniel Cobar
And today, we received the response from Labor Attache David Des T. Dicang of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) Eastern Region Operations which explains, among other things:
(1) That six out of the total 16 OFWs mentioned in the email including Elmer Santillan, Romeo Cuaresma, Zaldy Malang, Nilo Bagasina, Arnold Kamansa and Daniel Cobar were already repatriated; while,
(2) The remaining ten were not really "matagal na doon sa loob" as the earliest were registered only on 28 November last year.
Migrante KSA expresses our deep gratitude for LabAtt Dicang's immediate response and thus we unite with him when he requests that interested parties "be accurate in the facts they post via email or they wish to disseminate for the benefit of all".
We can only hope that POLO in the Eastern Region (and elsewhere) would be able to address the issues of distressed OFWs in a timely and decisive manner, the way POLO-ERO responded to our appeal.