Hundreds of OFWs in Saudi Arabia stranded due to over P100k debt

  • 300 OFWs in Saudi Arabia are barred from going home because of an outstanding debt of as much as P200,000
  • The debt was loaned to them by a lending company under the understanding that the principal amount was only 3,000 SAR of P30,000
  • But the contract, which they signed, says that the principal amount of the loan is 10,000 SAR or P100,000

Around 300 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia won’t be able to go home unless they pay their debts amounting to as much as P200,000.

GMA News revealed that these migrant workers apparently have been duped into borrowing money by signing a contract that was in Arabic.

“Nagulat na lang ako nang mag-file ako ng exit na hindi na ako ma-isyuhan ng exit visa dahil nga sa utang. Lumalabas na ang utang namin ay 17,000 at na-deduct sa akin at natira ay 12,000 kaya nga wala kami pambayad niyan,” Danny Dupitas, one of the borrowers, said in an interview with the news outfit.

[I was just shocked, when I applied for an exit visa, they can’t issue me one because of the debt. As it turns out, I owe 17,000 SAR that was already deducted from me so I have a remaining debt of 12,000.]

The amount rangers from 100,000 to 200,000 in Philippine peso.

He disclosed that in 2013, a lending company offered them a loan of 3,000 SAR or worth P30,000 with a 200 SAR interest. The lending contract was in Arabic, which they signed.

Hundreds of OFWs are also in the same dilemma as Dupitas and unable to go home.

According to Vice Consul Alex Estomo of the Philippine Embassy in Saudi Arabia, the contract says that the principal amount of the loan is actually 10,000 SAR instead of just 3,000. He said that most of the Filipino workers there now have a debt of 17,000 SAR because of the interest.

Estomo warned OFWs of engaging into contracts that they do not understand. It was not clear, however, if the Philippine government would assist the Filipinos in paying the debts.

Meanwhile, the government has successfully repatriated over 2,000 OFWs from Saudi Arabia this week. The migrant workers lost their jobs after their companies went into bankruptcy.