text & photo HADER GLANG
At the same time, Salapuddin hailed President Arroyo for her effort in getting the nod and assurance of the King of Saudi for a continued supply of oil in case of any crisis in the gulf brought by US-Iran conflict over the nuclear issue.
President Arroyo secured the release of about 667 OFWs from Saudi jails during her four-day state visit to the kingdom in what political analysts described as a gesture of friendship and compassion of the King of Saudi Arabia and as a diplomatic fruit for Arroyo's visit to the country.
“The release of hundreds of OFWs that were languishing from the different jails in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is clearly indicative of the political will, the charisma and the good diplomatic relationship between the two countries,” Salapuddin said.
For saving the lives of the OFWs, Salapuddin said the President should be commended and appreciated by the entire Filipino nation, especially so those prisoners were coming from the different parts of the country, Muslims and Christians alike.
Salapuddin, however, warned Filipinos who work abroad saying that “they must learn and not forget that they are duty bound to follow the laws of that country and in that country they cannot bribe the authority and that the full force of the law will be applied to them.”
He cited ‘jueteng’ (illegal number game), peddling drugs and prohibited alcoholic drinks as the offenses committed by some of those OFWs apprehended by Saudi authority. “They should better know what are the dos and don’ts in that country before they do anything.”
On Thursday, a total of 138 OFWs who were previously convicted prisoners but now pardoned in Saudi Arabia arrived at the Villamor Air Base, south of Manila. They were among the first batch of Filipinos pardoned by King Abdullah sent home.
Many of them faced major cases, but the “blood money” requirement had been waived because the practice in Saudi Arabia of perpetrators paying victims or their families for certain crimes, according to Arab News.
In addition, the Saudi government has also allowed the immediate repatriation of 75 runaway Filipino women who had sought shelter at the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, the report said.(ZS)