- OFWs in Saudi Arabia resorted to scavenging garbage to find food to eat.
- DOLE made sure to fly the OFWs home as soon as the lockdown in Riyadh is lifted.
Some overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have resorted to going through the trash in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to find food to eat. They have been unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reymond Zaragosa and Donald De Las Alas took a video of themselves with a few other Filipinos in Riyadh picking through the garbage. It has been four months since they’ve received any income.
They said that whenever they see something valuable, they immediately grab a hold of it and when they see some fruits or vegetables in the garbage, they try to eat it just to avoid starvation.
There are currently 10 OFWs who have resorted to this kind of activity just so that they can feed themselves.
When asked if they have received anything from the Philippine government, they answered “yes” but added that it was not enough and their workplace was not giving them any salaries and benefits.
“Sana po makarating sa kinauukulan diyan sa gobyerno sa Pinas tulungan kami rito makauwi kasi hirap na hirap na kami rito. Tatlong buwan mahigit kami rito walang trabaho at walang sahod,” Zaragosa stated.
They’ve also filed for repatriation at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office but have yet to receive any feedback.
Another OFW named John Carlos Valdes also shared his experience of living in a villa with his co-workers but has yet to receive any pay since April.
“Malinis naman po, sir. ‘Yun lang po naitapon na sa garbage so parang hindi na po ‘yun malinis. Pero kasi wala po kaming choice. Malinis po ‘yan para sa amin para may makain kami sir sa araw-araw,” he said.
According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, they will make sure that the OFWs will get to go home as soon there’s a flight available.
“Naka-lockdown ang Riyadh pero sa next available flight isasama namin sila unti-unti.”
They will also make sure to talk to the OFWs’ employers regarding the workers’ situation.