An undetermined number of undocumented and jobless overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia sell their blood to buy food while some even send the “honoraria” as remittance to their families at home.
It has become the source of ‘daily susbsistence” for some of the estimated 10,000 undocumented and jobless OFWs, according to Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona.
Among them is OFW ‘Roy’ (not his real name), 30, from Tondo, Manila, who arrived in Saudi Arabia to work as a glass cutter in 2009.
“After months of working and have not been paid of his salaries, he was forced to run away from his employer and since then became undocumented,” said Monterona.
OFW Roy is jumping from one part-time job to another like many other undocumented OFWs, Monterona described the situation.
“Mahirap ang walang permanenteng trabaho at TNT. Kaya buwan-buwan nagbebenta ako ng dugo para may pera at remittance para sa pamilya ko (It’s hard to have no permanent job and as a TNT (tago-ng-tago). Thus, every month, I am ‘selling’ my blood to have money and send remittance to my family),” OFW Roy told Monterona.
Monterona also cited the case of OFW ‘Miko’, 38, a store merchandiser in Riyadh, Saudi’s capital.
OFW Miko, according to Monterona, confirmed that he, too, sold his blood in a hospital in Riyadh when he was terminated from his job and could not easily find a job for three months.
“Una, nag-donate ako ng 500 CC, binigyan ako ng 500 Saudi rials. Pagkalipas ng dalawang buwan, 500 CC ulit ng dugo. Binigyan ako ng hospital ng 300 SR. (First, I donated 500 CC blood. I was given 500 SR. After two months, 500 CC again. The hospital gave me 300 SR,” OFW Miko told Monterona.
Monterona said there is nothing wrong to donate flood. “It is in fact a noble and humanitarian act,” he added.
He noted some hospitals in Riyadh have beeng urging its nationals and expatriate workers to donate blood. In return donors are given honoraria.
“We could fully understand the dire situation of our undocumented and jobless OFWs who often donated their blood to various hospitals in Riyadh, though their apparent motive is to get money in exchange of the blood they donated,” Monterona added.
Migrante chapter in the Kingdom has been urging the PH embassy in Riyadh to consider putting up a shelter for undocumented male OFWs who are in dire situation.
The PH embassy has a Bahay Kalinga, a temporary refuge for distressed women OFWs.
(Photo Credit: www.migrant-rights.org)