Filipino rejoins RP family after 15 years of Mideast travail

August 6, 2010 8:35 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Aug. 5 —- A Filipino worker’s 15-year journey of fear, illness, penury and abandonment in the Middle East has finally ended, with his repatriation to Manila on July 2 through the persistence of the Philippine embassy in Bahrain, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Details of Bien Mortilla’s personal life were not provided by the DFA, but it described him as a former seafarer based in Kuwait who entered Bahrain on a tourist visa in 1995 and remained there as an undocumented worker till his repatriation this month.

In the interim, Mortilla suffered a stroke serious enough to force him into further hiding from both Philippines and Bahrain authorities, Ambassador to Manama Ma. Corazon Yap-Bahjin related to the DFA.

When he finally met Philippine embassy officials, he was quoted to have said that his initial fear was that they themselves might turn him over to Manama authorities who will then arrest and detain him in Bahrain.

Ambassador Yap-Bahjin related that his predicament was further complicated upon learning that he would be fined 5,030 Bahraini Dinars (BD) or US$ 13,413 (P616,998) for overstaying in the country.

But as it turned out, Mortilla’s apprehensions were unfounded. Through Yap-Bahjin's persistent representations with the Bahraini Immigration Office, the costly penalty was not only waived, but his exit was cleared also with just a payment of BD40 or US$ 106.

Now appily reunited with his family here, Mortilla is all thanks to the embassy. (PNA)



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