According to JP Soriano’s report on “24 Oras Weekend,” Rene Florendo Marasigan and other OFWs stranded in Jeddah are sometimes forced to go out amid the COVID-19 pandemic to search for food.
Marasigan is among the almost 100 Saudi Arabia OFWs who lost their jobs and were placed in a housing facility by their agency.
However, the agency did not give them any money.
“Dito po kasi sa labas may nagbibigay na mga Saudi national nagaabot kasi Ramadan po ngayon, nagaabang ho kami doon sa highway para may maybigay,” he said.
(Some Saudi nationals give food outside because it’s Ramadan today, so we’re waiting by the highway.)
However, Marasigan said that sometimes they ended up with nothing.
He was fired from his job after his visa expired.
As of April 23, data from the Department of Foreign Affairs showed that 3,825 Filipinos are currently suffering from COVID-19 in the Middle East. This is the highest case count for new COVID-19 cases across the globe.
“Hirap na hirap na kami. Gusto na ho talaga naming umuwi. Kung kami’y matutulungan, makauwi na ng mas maaga,” he said.
(We’re having a difficult time. We want to go home. If they could help us, we would be able to get home faster.)
The Overseas Welfare Workers Administration said that it will send food to the OFWs in the housing facility. It also said that they are preparing the flight for the OFWs.
“Nili-linya lang ‘yung kanilang flight and we’re very optimistic na by May, maililipad natin sila. Clearly nag kulang dito ‘yung kumpanya sa pag pro-provide ng provision sa kanila pati na rin ‘yung Philippine recruitment agency dito,” OWWA administrator Hans Cacdac said.
(We’re just arranging for their flights and we’re very optimistic that they could leave by May. Clearly, the company failed to provide provisions for them as well as the Philippine recruitment agency there.)
— Joahna Lei Casilao/DVM, GMA News