After enduring hardships in their host country, least 185 distressed overseas Filipino workers repatriated from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia finally arrived home at midnight Tuesday.
The OFWs, who brought with them more than 50 minors, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport aboard an Etihad flight, according to a report on GMA Network's "Unang Balita."
Some recalled their hardships while in Saudi Arabia but others said they were happy to be home, the same television report said. [View the full report by GMA News' Victoria Tulad below.]
Just last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said a total of 799 overstaying Filipinos in Jeddah sheltered at the Seaport Hajj Terminal facility were to be brought home.
"Following the successful negotiation and representation by the Consulate with the Saudi government and the immigration authorities, an arrangement was reached on May 30 between the Consulate, represented by Consul Ausan and Labor Attache Cabe, and the Jawazat (Saudi Directorate General for Passports)," the DFA said in a press statement on June 1.
"The arrangement will be followed until every one of the 799 Filipinos will have been cleared for exit and flown home, hopefully, in time for the marking of the Migrant Workers' Day on June 7," it added at the time.
The Hajj Terminal operations is a special arrangement made by the Philippine government with Saudi authorities for the repatriation of overstaying Filipinos in the country.
It started in September 2009 after representations by the Consulate with the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the approval of the Office of the Emir of Makkah to address the cases of Filipinos staying under the Sitteen Khandara overpass in hope of an expedited deportation proceeding.
They were brought to, and are being sheltered at the Hajj Terminal, while awaiting the provision of their ticket and the processing of their exit papers. — RSJ, GMA News