PhilEmb Cautions OFWs

Press Release No. NNP-44/2006


20 Aug 2006 – The Philippine Embassy cautioned Filipino nationals in the Kingdom to adhere and respect the laws, regulations and traditions of their host government.


The Embassy announced this in the light of a growing number of Filipinos who are reportedly involved in various illegal activities.


The Embassy is monitoring no less than 337 Filipinos who have been incarcerated for various offenses in the Central and Eastern Regions alone.  Of this number, 197 are female, 165 of whom are charged with immorality.  Of the male cases, 69 involved alcohol/liquor related offenses followed by 30 cases of various drug related offenses.


The Embassy recalled that some of the common violations are for activities which are legal in the Philippines but are not allowed under Saudi laws, regulations and traditions.  The common pitfalls involve alcohol and morality.  However, the rest of the offenses violate even Philippine laws such as prostitution, prohibited drugs and, in some cases, gambling.


Restrictions on public interaction of men and women particularly unmarried couples who socialize publicly such as eating in restaurants and shopping together are clearly in violation of local moral laws and therefore run the risk of being jailed, be meted lashes and in extreme cases, deported.


The Embassy added that the consumption, production and purchase of alcohol is illegal in the Kingdom and Filipinos who chose to ignore this again run the risk of serving jail time.


The Embassy emphasized that if Filipino citizens only adhered to local laws, fully aware of these when they came to Saudi Arabia, then the number of Filipinos in jail would clearly be reduced by more than half, with the Embassy giving its full attention and assistance to major cases particularly of abuse and maltreatment.


In all his speaking engagements before the Filipino community, Charge d’Affaires, a. i. Nestor N. Padalhin, would constantly remind Filipino citizens of the pitfalls and consequences of failing to follow local laws and regulations in the hope of stemming the growing number of Filipinos incarcerated for various illegal activities.


In recent days, some 46 female Filipinos have been repatriated straight from the Women’s Jail after serving their jail time, meted lashes as provided by law as punishment and deported.


Recently, eight (8) male inmates who are light offenders benefited from a Royal pardon which facilitated their early deportation.  Of this number, seven were involved in alcohol related offenses.


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