Group blames toddler’s death on Jeddah consulate

Paterno Esmaquel II
The DFA says it has repatriated 883 Filipinos for Saudi, but the group Migrante hits the government's efforts as 'still wanting'

MANILA, Philippines – Pushing for the quick repatriation of Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, a migrant workers’ group on Monday, July 8, blasted the Philippine consulate in Jeddah over the death of a stranded Filipino worker’s toddler.

The group Migrante said the Philippine consulate in Jeddah should be held accountable for this, which is supposedly the third death in the consulate shelter for stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday confirmed the death of a 20-month-old toddler in the Jeddah consulate last June 30.

The DFA said the immediate cause of the toddler’s death was cardiac arrest. The toddler had a weak respiratory system, the DFA noted.

For Migrante, the toddler’s death shows that the Philippine consulate in Jeddah doesn’t give sufficient food, water, and medicines to stranded OFWs.

“This only proved that on-site assistance, including medical care and attention to old and sick stranded women and children, remains to be fulfilled,” said Migrante vice chairman John Leonard Monterona in a statement.

The group said that in the Jeddah shelter, an OFW had already died due to complications of renal failure, and another due to complications of ulcer.

‘Still wanting’

Migrante also criticized the government for having repatriated only 883 OFWs from Saudi so far. 

The group said this is only 8.8 percent of the 10,000 stranded OFWs who want to return to the Philippines. “So Philippine government repatriation efforts are still wanting,” Monterona said.

The DFA on Monday said that of the 883 repatriates from Saudi, 442 came from Riyadh and Saudi’s eastern region, while 441 came from Jeddah.

The agency noted that 8 of them arrived on Sunday, July 7, while 16 arrived on Monday.

Meanwhile, it said that during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins Tuesday, July 9, the processing of undocumented Filipinos will happen every Wednesday, from 8:30 pm to 2:30 am.

Those from Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and other Asian countries will follow the same schedule, based on Saudi’s rules. –

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at