Almost 600,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will set foot on their homeland in the next few days amid the Saudization policy and crackdown on illegal migrants in Saudi Arabia.
Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Wednesday that the number also consists of hundreds of children that are currently at the deportation center in Al Shumaissy in Jeddah.
Binay said that he was informed by Consul General Uriel Garibay of the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah that 455 Filipino women and 189 children were brought to the deportation center for processing their exit from Saudi Arabia.
“Contrary to news reports being published and circulated in Saudi Arabia, these overseas Filipino workers [OFWs] and their children were not arrested but willingly allowed themselves to be transported to the new deportation facilities at Al Shumaisy,” Binay said.
The deportation center is the only place where OFWs can be processed for their repatriation. The deportation center also agreed to admit the OFWs.
“The Consulate, in coordination with the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and immigration authorities, organized the transport including providing the buses for the travel to the facilities,” Binay said.
The deportation center, according to Binay, is better than the tents built outside the Philippine Embassy.
“The center boasts of modern processing areas, and those staying there are provided with food, including milk for children. There is also a well-equipped infirmary for the sick,” he said.