The fifth batch of the remains of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) arrived in the country on Tuesday.
The batch consisting of 35 OFWs’ bodies arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 at 9:56 a.m. This includes 12 deceased OFWs from Jeddah, 21 from Al Khobar, and two from Riyadh.
Out of this number, 30 OFWs died of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) while five died of other causes.
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) chief Hans Leo Cacdac led the solemn ceremony together with Defense Secretary Alexander Yano, Labor Special Adviser Marianito Roque, and other officials.
Cacdac, who represented Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, assured due benefits to the families of the deceased OFWs.
“Lahat po ng pamilya ng mga nasawi ay makakatanggap ng cash assistance mula sa DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment)-OWWA at mayroon din pong insurance at OWWA benefits ang ilan sa mga pamilya, ayon sa batas (All the bereaved families will receive cash assistance from DOLE-OWWA and some of them would also get insurance and other OWWA benefits as prescribed by the law),” Cacdac said in his speech in the event aired via Facebook live video.
This includes PHP120,000 bereavement and burial assistance, livelihood assistance, and PHP30,000 educational support for OFW children.
Meanwhile, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, in a recorded audio message for the occasion, paid tribute to the deceased OFWs.
“Alam ko mas nanaisin nilang magtrabaho dito sa ating bansa kaysa mapalayo sa kanilang pamilya ngunit kailangan nilang mangibang bansa para magtrabaho. Ako ay taos pusong nakikiramay ako sa mga pamilya at ng ating mga kababayan na pumanaw sa Saudi Arabia (I’m sure they would have chosen to work here if given the chance instead of being away from their families but they have to leave for another country to work. I condole with the families of our OFWs who died in Saudi Arabia),” Go said.
He also called on Filipinos to honor the sacrifices of OFWs who are touted as ‘modern-day heroes’.
“Tinitiyak ko na maaasahan ninyo ang inyong pamahalaan para sa anumang tulong o ayuda na kailangan ng inyong pamilya sa ganitong panahon. Kami po ni Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte ay handang magserbisyo para sa inyong lahat (I assure that you can depend on the government for any form assistance you might need during this time. President Rodrigo Duterte and I are ready to serve you,” he added.
The remains of those who died of Covid-19 were cremated immediately upon arrival while the rest were flown by a special flight of a Philippine Air Force plane to their respective home provinces.
The latest batch brings to 299 the total number of repatriated deceased OFWs after the government earlier approved the mass repatriation of remains of OFWs. (PNA)