Monday, February 11, 2008

Stranded Filipinos starts wearing black headbands,

News Release 1
11 February 2008
Stranded Filipinos starts wearing black headbands,
reiterates appeal for repatriation

‘Stranded’ Filipinos camping out in the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia started wearing black headbands in protest of the government's neglect of their suffering and in solidarity with their comrade Joel Agana whose mother died today.

“The black headbands signify the continuing neglect of our government to our plight even as we reiterate our appeal to Consul General Ezzedin Tago to facilitate our repatriation,” Carlos Rebutar, Spokesperson for the group of some 88 'stranded' OFWs said today. “The black headbands signify the death of our families as the Philippine Consulate refuses to lift a finger to alleviate our plight.”


According to Rebutar, ConGen Tago repeatedly refused their appeal by saying he would not 'lie' and again asked them to sign acceptance for 'due process' which the group in turn, declined.

“Tago cannot answer even our questions - how long is this ‘due process’ going to take and what if the employer fabricated charges against us,” Rebutar claims. “And since we already gave them our legal names, he even refused to check if we have pending cases in the courts unless we sign his so-called ‘acceptance of due process’.”

The stranded OFWs has already shaved their heads last Friday, 8 February as a sign of protest and would also start wearing shirts bearing their call ‘Send us home Now!” later today.

“We really don’t know when they are going to lift a finger to send us home,” Rebutar closed.

Agana's appeal

“Sana makauwi ako ng maaga para maabutan ko pa ang burol ng nanay ko (I wish to be repatriated early so I can still catch my mother's wake),” Agana today told A. M. Ociones, Migrante KSA Chairperson. “Baka hindi ko na kayanin kung hindi ko pa sya abutan (I might lose my wits if I dont even see her on her wake).”

Agana's mother, Fe, was hospitalized due to hypertension in 20 January 2008 and later went into comatose. He immediately sought a fixer to facilitate his return home but was dropped off at Al Khandara Bridge where other Filipinos are also waiting to be rounded up by the Immigration Police and be deported.

He was still hopeful when Migrante KSA interviewed him under the Bridge on February 5.
“Bakasakali gumaling ang nanay ko kapag nakita lang ako (Hopefully my mother would get well),” Agana said back then. “Nun kasing hindi pa sya comatose, hinahanap ako ng hinahanap ng nanay ko (Because before she went into coma, my mother kept on looking for me.)”

Last February 3, Agana went with the 90 stranded OFWs who trooped to the Philippine Consulate while appealing to facilitate his repatriation due to the delicate condition of his mother.
Agana's mother died at dawn today (Philippine time) in Cavite.
# # #
Carlos Rebutar, Spokesperson for Stranded OFWs in Jeddah
Tel. No.: +966-55-1877-597

A.M. Ociones, Chairperson - Migrante Saudi Arabia
Tel. No.: +966-56-679-3202

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