There are 265 Filipinos serving time in various jail facilities in the western region of Saudi Arabia, most of them due to drug- and alcohol-related cases, according to the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah.
Citing records, Consul General Imelda Panolong said of the 265 jailed Filipinos, 133, including 15 women, are due to illegal drugs.
Meanwhile, 36 Filipinos in the region, including one woman, are incarcerated for manufacturing and selling alcoholic beverages -- an illegal activity in the Kingdom.
Panolong also said 21 Filipinos are jailed because of theft and robbery, while 18, including five male homosexuals, are due to prostitution and immorality. On the other hand, 10 Filipinos are also serving time in the same region for using fake documents, counterfeit money, and assumed identity.
Other cases that sent Filipinos to jail in the western region of Saudi Arabia were Accessory to Murder (4 Filipinos), Fighting/Assault (3), Embezzlement (6), Unpaid Debts (7), Practicing Witchcraft or Black Magic (3), Trespassing (1), Mixed Crowd (6), and Attempted Suicide (7).
"Gusto ko sanang manawagan sa mga kababayan natin na umiwas sa drugs, sa mga kakilala na alam niyong into this, kung pwedeng mapagsabihan sila ng maayos na umiwas, tigilan ang ganitong hanapbuhay. At duon naman sa pwedeng umiwas, kung talagang hindi makaiwas ang mga kaibigan natin, if we can try avoiding them kasi meron tayong mga cases na nadadamay sila, sometime bumisita lang sila sa bahay na nagkataong nag raid," Panolong appealed to OFWs.
Saudi Arabia's western region is composed of Jeddah, Makkah, Taif, Madinah, Yanbu, Asir Region, Tabuk, Najran, Khamsis Mushayt and Jizan, and it is under the watch of the Philippine Consulate. On the other hand, Riyadh, Qassem, Hail, and the Eastern Province that is composed of Jubail, Alkhobar and Dammam are under the watch of the Philippine Embassy. -- Ronaldo Concha/KBK, GMA News -