12:21 pm | Monday, November 4th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) declined to extend its amnesty for “illegal” migrants.
“Humingi tayo ng extension pero hindi naman pumayag ang Saudi government (We asked for an extension but the Saudi government did not allow it),” Binay told Radyo Inquirer 990AM in an interview.
This means the Saudi government will continue with its crackdown on undocumented migrants as the amnesty lapsed on Sunday, allowing authorities to round up, jail and deport illegal aliens including undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
But Binay said Filipinos should not be alarmed since OFWs who are already undergoing the repatriation process won’t be arrested.
“Yung mga inaayos na ang kanilang mga papeles ay hindi naman huhulihin iyon. Ang huhulihin ay yung mga nagtatrabaho pa na hindi pa rin nag-apply (Those whose papers are bring process won’t be arrested. Those who will be arrested are (illegal migrants) those still working and have not applied (for repatriation),” he said.
The Vice President also assured the public that a P2-billion fund has been set aside for the re-integration program of OFWs returning to the country.
In another radio interview, Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, said around 1,500 OFWs were at the Philippine Embassy in Saudi and were waiting for their immigration clearances and exit visa.
He said they will most likely be asked to stay in DFA temporary shelters in Riyadh and Jeddah to ensure their safety amid the crackdown.
The Commission on Overseas Filipinos estimates that some 108,000 undocumented Filipinos were staying in Saudi as of December 2012.
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