Msgr. Santos, President of the Commission for the care of migrants: "The time has come ease the suffering of these people. The government cannot abandon them. " At least 3,800 Filipino workers are imprisoned abroad, 90 of them on death row, 41 in Malaysia and 27 in Saudi Arabia. Two days ago Joseph Urbiztondo, detained for 25 years in Kuwait, was able to pay the "blood money" and save his life.
Manila (AsiaNews / CBCP) - Now is "the time to act to free the Filipino detainees overseas and get them home safely." This is the appeal of Mons. Ruperto Santos, Bishop of Balanga and president of the Episcopal Commission for the care of migrants, who has asked Manila to make every effort so that " their agony and their sorrow is not prolonged."
The words of Msgr. Santos arrive a few hours after Joseph Urbiztondo, Filipino worker detained for 25 years in Kuwait, returned home. He had managed to pay the "blood money" and to save his life. The man had been convicted of murdering a fellow Bangladeshi. Urbiztondo, who has always declared that it had nothing to do with the murder, had to pay 26 thousand dollars to the victim's family to be exonerated.
"We should learn from this situation - said Msgr. Santos - We are happy for what happened to Urbiztondo. He has suffered a lot. We are grateful to God for the fact that he was released and alive and now is with those who love him. "
According to the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, there are about 10 million migrant workers abroad, of whom 2.2 million in Saudi Arabia. At least 3,800 of them are in prison, 90 of them on death row. Of these, 41 are in Malaysia and 27 in the Saudi kingdom.
Not everyone can be saved like Urbiztondo: December 30 last, Joselito Lidasan Zapanta, a 35 year old tiler, was beheaded in Saudi Arabia for failing to pay the "blood money".
According to Msgr. Santos, this situation cannot continue to be managed without the ongoing commitment of authourities, and the Philippine government must devise a strategy to shorten the suffering of its workers abroad: "The government should assist them and help them, now and forever."