A Filipino worker in Saudi Arabia was prevented from leaving the country because of an unsettled debt from 2014. Ernesto Guillamon was about to board a flight to the Philippines when an immigration officer stopped him.

The officer said Guillamon needed to get clearance before he could leave Saudi Arabia as his residence permit was blocked, GMA News reported.

An investigation revealed that Guillamon had failed to settle a debt with a lending company dating back to 2014. The debt rose from 3,000 riyals to 15,000 riyals (US$4,000) because of accumulated interest.

However, Guillamon said he had settled his original debt of 3,000 riyals by paying a collector from the company, who was later revealed to have gone missing.

Guillamon sought the help of the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah. The consulate has allowed him to stay in its premises temporarily while the case is pending.

Consul Edgar Badajos advised Filipino workers to avoid taking out loans as much as possible so that they will not become victims of scams.