Following several videos posted online about Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia scavenging for food from the trash, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised a warning not to post “staged” videos or risk getting arrested.
According to DFA Undersecretary Sarah Arriola, there is already one OFW who got arrested in Saudi Arabia after he posted a video of Filipino workers looking for food from trash bins.
“It was staged… One of the people who posted the video was already arrested,” says Arriola who refused to give any additional details of the arrest.
“Please be careful with your social media posts. You cannot ruin the reputation of the company you are working for… They are very strict with cyber libel,” Arriola added.
Arriola also added that the OFWs who seen scavenging for food already got “assistance for 5 to 6 times” coming from the Foreign Affairs office in Saudi Arabia.
Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto also commented that OFWs had “resorted to theatrics to catch attention.”
Migrant workers in the video admitted that they already received food assistance from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, but the food packs were not enough. The workers also claimed that they were not given their salary for four months.
Currently, there are 158,633 OFWs in the Middle East asking to be repatriated back to the Philippines amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 88,000 out of the overall number are from Saudi Arabia.