SAUDI ARABIA – Approximately 300 Overseas Filipino Workers were stranded in Jeddah after failing to pay their debts.
A certain Darney Dupitas stated that he was actually not aware that he has pending debt amounting to 12,000 SAR just until he recently applied for exit visa. But according to him, last 2013, he borrowed an amount of 3,000 SAR (P30,000) with 200 SAR interest. Later on, he learned that the loan was actually 10,000 SAR which later ballooned into 17,000 SAR (P200,000).
According to him, he was shocked to learn that he has pending 17,000 SAR debt when he filed for an exit visa. He also said that he applied the said loan from a lending company. He was obliged to sign a document which was written in Arabic.
Another OFW also has the same problem as Dupitas. The agent promised him to help settle the problem but was not resolved as of the moment.
Philippine Consulate Assistance to Nationals Vice Consul Alex Estomo, said that most of these OFWs came from Saudi Binladen Group which recently faced financial problem. The lending company mentioned by these OFWs were visited by the Philippine Officials and they were able to get a list of Filipinos with outstanding debts. He also noted that the loop hole in the story is the document which was written in Arabic but they still chose to sign it despite their inability to understand its content.
The only way for these Filipinos to go home is to settle their debts and they raise consciousness about remaining OFWs in Saudi not to sign documents without understanding its content.