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DFA: 4,167 Filipinos repatriated from Saudi in 2013

The Philippine government spent nearly P70.6 million for the repatriation of 4,167 Filipinos from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2013, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.

The DFA said more than 2,000 of the repatriates were women. Most of them were household helpers who ran away from their employers. On the other hand, nearly 900 of them were undocumented Filipino children.

The list did not include those who exited the Kingdom without informing the Consulate.

The department said the government shouldered the airline tickets of 2,997 of the repatriates at the cost of P56 million. Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the host government, on the other hand, provided 194 and 976 tickets, respectively.

Exit visas, meanwhile, were processed and issued by the Saudi government through the facilitation of the Consulate and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office.

The repatriated Filipinos were among the more than 28,000 who rushed to the Consulate from April to December to seek assistance in either their repatriation or the transfer to legal sponsors.

It was in the early part of 2013 when the Kingdom intensified its Saudization campaign by cracking down on illegal workers.

This led to the displacement of at least 1,500 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who subsequently set up a “tent city” outside the Consulate.