Undocumented Pinoys thank Saudi Arabia for amnesty
JEDDAH — Undocumented Filipinos availing of the amnesty offered by Saudi Arabia have nothing but gratitude toward the host government.
"Masaya at nagpapasalamat po kami sa magandang pagkakataong ito na makauwi na walang alalahanin," Munir Antaw told GMA News in an interview at the Philippine Consulate here.
Antaw, a native of Zamboanga City, became an illegally staying Filipino in the Kingdom after he left his employer for not paying his salary for four months. Before that, Antaw was working as a family driver.
He also thanked the Philippine Consulate for providing the bus that transported him to the deportation center from Shumaisi, which is 100 kilometers away.
"Malaking bagay po ang pagrenta nila ng mga bus para hindi na kami gumastos sa pamasahe," Antaw said.
Antaw said he wanted to return to the Philippines ever since he left his employer and despite the advice of Philippine officials for him to return to his employer. He said he survived by taking on odd jobs.
He said he considers the 90-day amnesty offered by Saudi Arabia as a timely blessing.
Another undocumented OFW, identifying himself as Pepito, lauded the amnesty as it would allow him to go home without paying the penalty for being illegal.
Pepito, who is from Batangas, said he has been working illegally in Saudi Arabia for 14 years after fleeing his employer in Riyadh who allegedly "sold" him to another employer.
A tailor, Pepito said he intends to return to Saudi Arabia to work legally.
"May visa na para sa akin kaya uuwi na muna ako sa atin para makabik at maging legal sa pagtatrabaho," he said. —Ronaldo Concha/KBK, GMA News