Saudi firm in Hail abandons two terminated OFWs

Two helpless overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Hail, northwestern Saudi Arabia, are suffering after allegedly being abandoned by their employer, Al Kifah Mix & Block.

Lorgie Fundal Gabais, heavy equipment mechanic, and Anthony Calongog, driver, have appealed for help since they have been jobless for more than four months and have nothing more to eat.

They have been calling the construction firm, but their calls went unanswered.

Gabais had wanted to go home because his father died, and he wanted to attend the funeral in Cavite.

Asked about their recruitment agency, the OFWs said one they had was YHMD, which has offices in Malate, Manila.

Former career foreign service officer Rafael E. Seguis referred their case to Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Undersecretary and officer-in-charge (OIC) Hans Leo J. Cacdac and Attaché Saifoden “Ding” Manalao of the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.

Cacdac told Seguis DMI would help, while Manalao said he would refer the case to the Migrant Workers Office (MWO), whose OIC is Assistant Labor Attaché Antonio M. Mutoc, Jr.

The case had earlier been referred to the concerned agencies.

On Nov. 20, 2023, the Saudi construction firm imposed a stop-work policy on Gabais and Calongog without giving any reason.

However, the company did not have the Filipinos’ papers processed for their final exit from the Kingdom.

When the workers asked the company for the unpaid salaries and benefits due them, the management told them to wait.

“Sir, hanggang  ngayon ay naghihintay pa rin kami,” they said in a text message.

(Sir, we’re still waiting until now.)

They requested this writer to write a follow-up report. It was difficult for them to bring their case to the embassy and MWO because of the distance from their place of work.

Hail is 645 kilometers away from Riyadh. (In the past, the embassy or the Philippine Overseas  Labor Office, now MWO, tapped the Filipino community to reach out to distressed OFWs in remote areas like Hail or Sakaka.)

The company,  a big player in the Saudi construction industry, reportedly has offices in various parts of the Kingdom.

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