During summer in KSA is a season where everyone and even the Saudis themselves usually stayed at home while expats like me are in our villas to escape the intense heat of the sun. That is why ACs (air condition) is the number one basic necessities in the Kingdom.
Yet, the heat of the sun was not a hindrance for us to proceed with our visit last Friday 4/28/06 to Bahay Kalinga (BK). Bahay Kalinga is a house for our stranded distressed Female OFWs. The place is also officially known as Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC) provided by the Philippine Government under RA 8042 (Migrant Workers and Overseas Act of 1995) as a temporary shelter for our run-away Filipina workers. These female stranded workers will stay at the said house pending resolution of their cases for repatriation. Most of their complaints are non payment of wages, long hours of work or without rest, poor accommodations, maltreatment and sexually abused.
As of today the stranded female OFWs in the center is about 170. In that count the Female OFWs housed at the Saudi Welfare Center (SWA) are not included. The SWA is a center provided by the Saudi Government to those Filipina workers and other female workers in different nationalities with criminal cases such as theft, murder, immoral acts and drug related offenses. Only the POLO/Embassy personnel particularly from our Assistance to National Section (ANS) are allowed to visit this place.
From 2nd Industrial Area we traveled 35 kilometers to reach Bahay Kalinga brought along with us 14 cartons of assorted used clothing and other things for their personal needs. Since the shelter is very strict with visitors, men in particular, the said visit was properly coordinated with the office of our good OWWA Welfare Officer Arman Roa.
Our group KAKAMPI-KSA unloaded the goods with the help of our friends from the Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS-Migrante). The collected various assorted items came from our kindhearted fellow OFWs in the Industrial Area particularly workers in Al Sharq Plastic Factory, Al Ajial Co. Ltd., Obeikan, Saudi Lighting and the logistical support from Black Python Martial Arts Association.
We noticed that the FWRC is well taken care of, compared to my last visit in the center a couple of months ago when we brought foods to the shelter. Today, the office is properly organized along with the visiting area, as well as a clean rest rooms. Though we can not enter the main premises where the rooms of our distressed female OFWs are located yet we knew that everything/everyone are in good shape and under control. Thanks to the newly assigned center personnel from Manila headed by Dr. Adel Usman and DSWD Social Welfare Officer Mrs. Nene Usman. We are hoping that the healthy environment in the center will be for long and not just for now in preparation for PGMAs visit.
The mission was accomplished with a sigh of relief and a happy heart that we again fulfilled our task in helping others in needs.
Special thanks to fellow comrades Abdullah Andrade, Mario Ben, Jomel Soriao, Binang Jilhano, Norman Gatdula, Alex Aurelio (Yellow T-Shirt), Rey Ruiz and Faizal Mercurio. ### BongA