The Filipino migrants’ rights group, MIGRANTE, which is at the forefront of providing assistance to 7,500 stranded Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia who have wanted to be repatriated home, today calls on Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to recall PHL ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
“We support and join the demand of the various Filipino organizations and the 7,500 stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia to immediately recall PHL ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzadin Tago,” said John Leonard Monterona, MIGRANTE party-list vice chairperson.
Monterona said Amb. Tago have shown that he is just a sitting duck and inutile who can’t provide protection and promote the rights and welfare of OFWs especially the stranded, distressed and abused in the Kingdom noting that OFWs welfare is third on the public service thrust of the PH Foreign Affairs department.
“Instead of helping the stranded OFWs who have camped inside the PH embassy since May 4 to call PH embassy’s attention for their free, swift, mass repatriation, Amb. Tago used the same old tactics in harassing the stranded OFWs to force them leave PH embassy compound in Riyadh,” Monterona added.
Monterona noted on the 2nd day of the encampment of the stranded OFWs inside the PH embassy compound, Amb. Tago ordered his staff to cut off the electricity and water lines where the 120 stranded OFWs, mostly women and some with children, have stayed at the old canteen inside the PH embassy.
“Amb. Tago also ordered the PH embassy closed and the donations for the stranded OFWs coming from various Filipino organizations such as food, water, and sanitation were confiscated. Then, he is now blaming MIGRANTE and various Filipino organizations who have supported the stranded OFWs in their fight for free, swift, mass repatriation as he claimed that the embassy’s operation have been affected,” Monterona adding thatit was Tago who ordered the embassy closed where in fact the stranded have camped inside the compound of the embassy far away from the main building of the embassy where daily consular services being held.
On May 6, Tago ordered his staff to talk to Monaida Angko Dimarao, 30, from Parang, Maguindanao, to convince her that the embassy will only provide medication to her 10-month old daughter who has hydrocephalous, if they will leave the encampment inside the PH embassy. She hesitated but was forced by embassy staff and get way her daughter who was brought inside the PH embassy building.
After hours of waiting and sensing that there is no update of the promised medication of her daughter by the PH embassy staff, she and other fellow stranded OFWs went to PH embassy building to demand that her daughter be back with her. (Attached link of the recorded video sent by a stranded OFWs to MIGRANTE’s Monterona http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhWCYxcJayE&feature=youtu.bev)
“We can’t understand why Amb. Tago is forcing the stranded OFWs leave the PH embassy compound who only wanted a sanctuary inside the PH embassy while awaiting the assurance and plans of the PH embassy for their repatriation. The PH embassy is supposedly the most secured place for our stranded, distressed, and abused OFWs,” Monterona averred.
Monterona lamented, “Tago certainly does not know his job and responsibilities as head of PH mission in Saudi Arabia in terms of providing assistance to distressed and stranded OFWs. He said he wanted to secure the PH embassy compound and yet he is not providing security and relief to stranded OFWs. Rather, Tago is terrorizing the stranded OFWs just to force the stranded leave the PH embassy compound.”
“Along with various OFWs organizations in Saudi Arabia and in the Middle East, we will intensify our campaign for free, swift, mass repatriation of the stranded OFWs in the Kingdom while we call on Pres. Aquino to recall Amb. Tago,” Monterona concluded.
Ezzadin Tago is half-Filipino, half-Egyptian, who was promoted to become PH ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 2011 after his stint as Consul General at PH diplomatic mission in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia replacing Amb. Antonio Villamor who was a political appointee of then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.