By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — Ruben de Leon, 25, an overseas Filipino worker in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, woke up on May 25. Last year, in September, he lapsed into coma after being hit by a car driven by a 16-year-old Saudi national.
De Leon’s mother Marissa appealed to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) if she could visit and personally look after her son. Her request was denied.
The General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI), a Saudi government-run company providing social and medical insurance to migrant workers in Saudi Arabia, said de Leon would be sent home soon and would continue his physical therapy in the Philippines.
On May 26, Migrante International officers based in Jeddah visited de Leon and discovered that de Leon is still sick. “In fact he could not even move his legs. The nurse attending to him suggested that Ruben still undergoes physical therapy until he has fully recovered before being sent home,” John Monterona, regional coordinator of Migrante International-Middle East said.
Monterona added that de Leon still could not manage a coherent conversation and shows signs of mental instability. “Maybe he is still suffering the effects of the accident and of being in coma for a year,” said Bobby Pajarito, chairperson of Migrante in Jeddah.
Monterona said de Leon’s family could not afford the medication and physical therapy of her son if the GOSI decides to send Ruben home now.
Pajarito said that the Assistance to the Nationals (ATN) section of the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) should make representations in behalf of de Leon to the GOSI and insist that he should remain in the hospital until his full recovery. He also demanded that the Philippine consulate ensures the provision of financial and medical assistance to de Leon by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) once he is repatriated.
“If the Saudi government through its GOSI provided assistance to OFW Ruben without hesitation, why would the PCG-ATN and OWWA not provide assistance to him until his full recovery and eventual repatriation?” Pajarito asked. (Bulatlat.com)