By Chito Chavez
Noraisa, 30, who was fired as a housekeeper in a school in Saudi for having a child, thanked the Duterte government now that she is back home with her eight-month-old baby.
Noraisa is one of many repatriated Overseas Filipinos (OFs) whom the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has provided assistance. The OFs are from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) who availed of the 90-day amnesty program of the said country.
“Akala namin wala na pong pag-asa para makaalis at makakuha ng libreng ticket. Nagpapasalamat po kami sa tulong ng gobyerno,” Noraisa said.
Another OF is Almira, 27, who is also thankful to the government for assisting her and her husband in their return to the Philippines with their child.
She said that they are also grateful to the DSWD for the cash assistance provided to them.
“Mahirap po ang pinagdaanan ko doon sa Saudi. Nagtrabaho ako ng maayos bilang domestic helper pero hindi binibigay ang sahod ko ng tama at nasa oras. Minsan, delayed ng five months. Nakatikim din ako ng pang-aabuso sa amo ko noong tinapunan niya ako ng mainit na kape sa braso. Salamat talaga sa tulong para makauwi kami,” Almira said.
“The DSWD will continue to assist OFs who will avail of the 90-day amnesty program of Saudi Arabia. We are constantly coordinating with our Social Service Attaché in Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and in Kuwait for the names of mothers and their children who will be flying back home in the next couple of weeks for the provision of appropriate assistance,” said Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo.
The 90-day amnesty period offered by the KSA allows foreign nationals, including Filipino workers, who are illegally staying in the country to return to their countries of origin without paying fines or facing legal measures.
Last May 11, the DSWD assisted 13 OFs, composed of five mothers, one father and seven children.
On May 13, the department provided assistance to another 13 OFs — four mothers, one father and eight children.
The DSWD also extended aid to another batch of OFs who arrived on Sunday, May 14, composed of five mothers, five children, and one pregnant woman.
To date, the DSWD has assisted 102 OFs, including those who arrived on April 17 together with President Duterte and those who returned to the country on May 4.