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    Posted January 21, 2013 by

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    Filipinos abroad sell own blood to live


    Until when they would be selling their own blood either for their own subsistence abroad or for their families in the Philippines? Are they fit to survive after this? Migrante-Middle East (M-ME), an umbrella organization of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East, said a number of jobless and undocumented OFWs in Saudi Arabia were forced to sell own blood to keep life going. M-ME regional coordinator John Leonard Monastery said some of these Offs, who have previously sought their assistance, confirmed that they are selling their own blood to hospitals for their daily subsistence, while others do for their families in the Philippines.

    Roy (not his real name), 30, from Tondo, Manila, is one of them. He arrived in Saudi Arabia on 2009 to work as glass cutter. But Roy was forced to run away from his employer after months of working for he was not being paid of his salaries. Since then he became an undocumented. Like other undocumented Offs, Roy is jumping from one part-time job to another. “It’s really difficult to have no permanent job. You’re always in hiding like a criminal. Just to survive I have to sell my own blood every month to have money for my family,” Roy told Migrante. Monterona also cited the case of Miko, 38, a store merchandiser in Riyadh, Saudi’s capital. Like Roy, Miko also confirmed that he had sold his blood to a hospital in Riyadh when he was terminated from his job and could not easily find another one for three months.

    “First, I donated 500 CC. I was given 500 Saudi Rials (SR). After two months, I again sold 500 CC of my blood. The hospital gave me 300 SR,” Miko told Migrante.

    Monterona said there is nothing wrong in donating blood. “It is in fact a noble and humanitarian act,” he stressed. He noted that some hospitals in Riyadh urged its nationals and expatriate workers to donate blood. In return, donors will receive a sort of “honorarium.” “We could fully understand the dire situation of our undocumented and jobless OFWs, who often donate or sell their blood to various hospitals in Riyadh,” Monterona said. Migrante chapter in the Kingdom said there are around 8,000 to 10,000 undocumented OFWs in Saudi Arabia. It has been urging the Philippine embassy in Riyadh to consider putting up a shelter for undocumented male OFWs who are in dire situation. It was learned that the embassy has already put up a Bahay Kalinga, a temporary refuge for distressed women OFWs. Roy and Miko are only examples of our distressed OFWs whose last chances of survival are etched on every drop of their own blood.
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