4 OFWs in Jeddah clear Consulate, say they were not kicked out of premises
The four Filipino workers who accused the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah of dragging them and throwing them out of its premises have apologized and retracted their statements after their story went viral on social media.
In a joint statement, the four clarified that they were neither harmed nor forced out of the premises, where they sought refuge after the Filipino Worker's Resource Center (FWRC) refused their request for temporary lodging.
"Humihingi po kami ng sorry sa mga nasaktan namin lalo na sa Consulate, tutal sinabi [na] po sa amin na aayusin [na] ang mga kaso namin na makauwi na kami ay okay na po sa amin," they said.
"Sana wala na pong mga negative comments na sana maging clear na po sa lahat 'yun," they added.
The four had earlier claimed they were refused entry at the Consulate and were forcibly ejected from its premises. The story went viral on the Internet and had resulted in sharp criticisms against the government, particularly the Philippine Consulate and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
OWWA Welfare Officer Rosemarie Cleofe said the four were not allowed to enter the Consulate because it was already past office time when they arrived there.
"Pinalabas po sila dahil sa tapos na ang oras ng trabaho at ang diplomatic security kailangan na i-secure ang Philippine Consulate pagkatapos ng oras ng trabaho," she said, adding the Consulate has a policy in extending assistance to OFWs in distress.
She explained that OFWs who run away from or are abandoned by their employers have 48 hours to report to the OWWA, unless they live in a remote location and could not reach the Consulate easily.
Cleofe said of the four OFWs, only one had been without accommodation for days after she was abandoned by her employer at the airport. The rest had been without employment for months already after they escaped from their employers.
Nevertheless, Cleofe said they are extending all the help they could give to the four OFWs. —RT/KBK, GMA News