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Stranded OFWs in Saudi forced to sell their blood to survive


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Several stranded overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia have resorted to selling their blood to be able to buy food after losing job when the restaurant where they were working closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to JP Soriano's report on "24 Oras," the OFWs sold their blood in exchange for 500 Riyal (around P6,600).

"Walang-wala na po kaming pera pang-gastos. Kaming lahat wala na po dito. 'Yung iba po naming kasamahan nagawa nang mag-donate ng dugo para lang may pambiling pagkain," an OFW said.

Almost all of the OFWs are also awaiting unpaid wages by their employers. 

"Ang gusto lang po namin sana ay makauwi na lang po kaming lahat. Sana matulungan po kami ng POLO, ng OWWA, kasi 'yung iba po sa amin talaga naii-stress na rin. Lahat po kami nahihirapan na," he said.

"Sana po maka-abot sa inyo ang video naming ito, mahal naming Pangulo Rodrigo Roa Duterte," he added.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA), Saudia Arabia has the most number of stranded Filipinos in need of repatriation at 88,000.

DFA-OUMWA said they will work on getting the OFWs home within two to three months.

"The biggest problem in Saudi Arabia is Riyadh alone is bigger than the Philippines," DFA-OUMWA undersecretary Sarah Arriola said.

"So it's very difficult for our foreign service post to respond to the need of our OFWs because of the sheer size, the lockdowns, and also the lack of manpower. And, unfortunately, our POLO office has been shut down because there are 16 infected of COVID-19," she added. —Joahna Lei Casilao/LDF, GMA News

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