Heroes welcome for 49 OFWs who died in the Middle East

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DAVAO CITY  — Top officials of the Philippine government gave heroes welcome to the remains of the 49 Overseas Filipino Workers repatriated from Saudi Arabia via a chartered flight on Friday.

Of the 49 OFW’s, 20 died of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and 29 of other causes.

The country’s flag carrier brought home 32 cadavers of OFW from Dammam and 17 from Riyadh.

This developed as the government announced that another 44 remains are set to arrive on Monday.

The ceremony was held at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City at 10 am with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, representing President Rodrigo Duterte, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. paying their last respects to the bodies.

Philippine Air Force chaplain, Rev. Fr. Capt. Jessie Gagarin blessed the remains before transporting to various crematoriums.

Bello in a statement said, “(We condole) with the families of our modern-day heroes as we receive them back on our soil and give them honors in an extremely extraordinary situation”.

Bello apologized for the delayed repatriation citing the lockdown and strenuous processes that they had to undertake.

Scheduled for next repatriation are those from Jeddah and other parts of the region.

He also acknowledged the collaborative efforts of the departments of health, interior, defense, and transportation, as well as the Bureau of Quarantine, Manila International Airport Authority, Bureau of Customs, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

Defense Secretary and National Task Force against Covid-19 chair Delfin Lorenzana said the government gave a warm welcome to honor the sacrifices of the OFWs as they return to their motherland.

Lorenzana said, “It is a sad moment and the nation mourn their loss.

Meanwhile, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac assured the families of the OFWs that they would receive cash aid from the government.

“All the families are entitled to receive cash assistance from DOLE-OWWA, insurance benefits and some of the families will also get DOLE-OWWA assistance as provided by law,” Cacdac said.-Newsline

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