As promised, President Duterte will bring home approximately 150 undocumented Overseas Filipino Workers who were granted amnesty by the government of Saudi Arabia.
According to Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, these returning OFWs are just the first batch of “runaway” OFWs which are set to be repatriated back to the Philippines.
The so-called “runaway” OFWs are those victims of illegal recruiters, abused and sold by their employers. While waiting for their repatriation, these OFWs stays in shelters provided by the embassy.
In a press conference, Abella said “He (Duterte) is expected to arrive in the Philippines with more than 150 OFWs from Saudi Arabia, the first batch of which of those being repatriated by the Philippine government due to the grant of amnesty to overstaying and undocumented foreign workers by the Saudi government.”
It is expected that the President will welcome these migrant workers during his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 today.
According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello II, the Government of Qatar also agreed in sending home 86 undocumented OFWs who were currently staying in Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) shelters. Their exit permits are currently being processed.
“Hopefully we can secure their release in month or two,” stated by Bello.
On the other hand, President Duterte is also seeking to convince the Qatari government to pardon three Filipinos currently jailed and accused of espionage. Two out of three Filipinos also have lighter sentences, giving them a chance for possible pardon.
“The president will seek pardon for the three. It will depend on the nature of the offense. We think only the two will be given pardon.”
The cases of these three Filipinos was brought to the attention of Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Al Thani in his meeting with President Duterte last Sunday.
The jailed Pinoys were identified only as “Chua Tan”, “Alamarez” and “Ulep”. They were all jailed last 2010 after they took pictures of military installations in Qatar and for stealing highly controversial documents.
In 2014, they were supposed to receive death sentence but the Philippine government appealed to lower their sentence. “Chua Tan”, worked at a state-run firm, was instead sentenced to life imprisonment while both “Ulep” and “Alamarez” received 15 years of jail term.