NEGROS Occidental fourth district Representative Jeffrey P. Ferrer and a good Samaritan from Bacolod shouldered the expenses for the repatriation of Simplicio Velasco III, an overseas contract worker from Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

Velasco is one of the seven OFWs from the province who worked in the Middle East as drivers. They did not finish their stipulated employment period because of alleged breach of contract committed by their employer.

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Only Velasco and Oliver Alanza are left in Saudi Arabia as the others were already repatriated earlier.

Velasco needed P60, 000 for his exit visa and plane ticket from Saudi Arabia back to the province.

Ferrer, through Bombo Radyo Philippines, Bacolod, extended P30,000 to Velasco's wife Letecia while a concerned citizen from Bacolod who requested anonymity provided another P30,000.

Ferrer said that Velasco is related to Olympic silver medalist Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco. He extended the needed financial assistance so that Velasco can be repatriated as soon as possible.

Velasco's wife was very grateful to Ferrer, to the anonymous donor and to Bombo Radyo for their assistance in raising the funds for her husband's return to the country.

The solon advised those who are planning to work abroad to be vigilant against unscrupulous recruitment agencies and their abusive employers. Applicants should check the background and track record of their future employers and the recruitment agency arranging their employment and travel abroad, Ferrer stressed.

Bombo Sammy Nuarbe, anchorman of Bombohanay, spearheads the campaign, through his program, to find means to also repatriate Alanza. Some funds had already been raised and Nuarbe is just waiting for Alanza's wife to come and discuss the matter.

The families of the seven OFWs initially asked the assistance of Bacolod City Lone district Representative Anthony Golez and Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson.

Golez coordinated with the various concerned agencies and officials in Manila and in Saudi Arabia to check on the whereabouts of these OFWs who escaped from their employers.

The City's Sectoral Concerns also helped facilitate the repatriation of these OFWs through coordination with concerned agencies of government. (Carla N. Cañet)