Eight Saudi-based Filipino mothers with 11 out-of-wedlock children repatriated

January 22, 2011 1:38 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Jan. 21 — Eleven children, allegedly born out of wedlock in Saudi Arabia and thus undocumented, and their supposed Filipino mothers, numbering eight, have been repatriated to Manila this week, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Upon arrival on Monday, the repatriates got psycho-social assistance from the combined team of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, whose representatives met them at the airport. DFA provided their return tickets.

The women were household service workers. DFA did not state why the children were tagged as born out of wedlock, but noted that “cases involving runaway mothers with undocumented children in Saudi Arabia are regarded as especially sensitive.”

It is highly possible that some of the women were rape victims.

The DFA added that Saudi laws do not give legal recognition to illegitimate children and provide them little or no social welfare protection, thus making it even more difficult to extricate them out of Saudi Arabia.

It explained that the Middle Eastern country’s “sponsorship system — where one’s entry into and exit from the Kingdom is facilitated through a local sponsor — effectively restricts the repatriation of undocumented individuals born in the Kingdom.”

The mothers and children were arrested on November 24 last year. To prevent their further imprisonment in Saudi facilities, Philippine officials asked for custody of the 19 persons and this was granted.

They were accommodated at the Philippine embassy’s facility for overseas Filipino workers and their physical well-being looked after by welfare officers.

Philippine embassy Charge d’affaire. Ezzedin H. Tago said in his report to the DFA that the Philippine Overseas Labor Office for Easter Region Operations successfully negotiated for the exit visas with Al Khobar police and immigration authorities (PNA)

vcs/GJB

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