DOLE prepares for repatriation of OFWs who died of COVID-19 from Saudi
Robie de Guzman • June 26, 2020 • 310
MANILA, Philippines —The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Friday said it is now preparing for the repatriation of the bodies of Filipino workers who succumbed to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and other causes in several regions of Saudi Arabia.
In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said their preparations include a set of protocols from the Department of Health on the handling, reception, and domestic transport of those who died from COVID-19.
Bello said they will be repatriating the remains of 152 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia who succumbed to COVID-19 and 149 others who died from various causes.
The labor chief said the bodies will be flown home by early next month after he was able to secure the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the repatriation process.
Based on initial preparations, two chartered planes will separately fly the coronavirus fatalities and those who died of other causes.
The bodies will be transported from various points to Riyadh and Jeddah, and will be flown back to the country by the second week of July.
Bello said the three Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) that will be involved in the process will have to abide by the strict guidelines of both the Saudi and Philippine governments in the transport of the remains.
Families will be notified of the arrival of the remains of their loved ones, along with their respective local government units (LGU) to allow their domestic transport, DOLE said.
Upon arrival in the country, the bodies of COVID-19 victims will be transported, with the help of the Department of National Defense, directly to the crematoriums of choice of the family or the LGU.
The remains of those who died of natural or other causes, meanwhile, will be allowed to be fetched at the airport by their respective families.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday (July 14) said it is “ready to extend” assistance to all workers of ABS-CBN Corp. who will be displaced as a result of Congress’ denial of the media giant’s application for new franchise.
“We are ready to extend the necessary assistance to all employees who may be displaced as a result of the congressional action,” Labor Undersecretary Ana Dione said in a statement.
The official emphasized that while the agency sympathizes with what happened, the network must ensure that all employees who are likely to be terminated, will receive their separation benefits as mandated by law.
“Should termination, reduction or displacement of workforce become unavoidable, the first thing that ABS-CBN should do is compensate the employees because it is legally bound to pay separation benefits to those who will be retrenched or terminated,” she said.
Dione said the agency is now in the process of determining the exact number of employees of the network who will be affected by the retrenchment.
“If they truly care for their workers, then the network is morally bound to give them all pays and emoluments that the law provides,” the official said of ABS-CBN.
MANILA, Philippines – Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvester Bello III on Wednesday said that the remains of overseas Filipino workers who died in Saudi Arabia will be brought home in batches starting Friday.
Bello said the first batch will be comprised of 44 bodies of deceased OFWs – 19 of whom succumbed to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while the others died of various causes.
The remains will arrive at the Villamor Airbase via a chartered flight on July 10.
Bello said those who died from COVID-19 will be immediately brought to a crematorium for cremation. Their ashes will then be turned over to their families.
For OFWs who died of natural causes, the labor chief said that their remains may be claimed by their relatives or sent to their respective provinces.
The second batch of OFW remains will arrive on Sunday. A total of 274 remains of OFWs will be flown home from Saudi Arabia.
Bello said the bodies will be repatriated in batches because they cannot bring them home all at once due to stringent protocols and requirements.
“Unahin muna natin yung nakumpleto ang papeles kasi ang hirap ng mga papeles dito. Meron from the Ministry of Labor, meron Ministry of Foreign Affairs nila, ospital kung saan galing yung labi. Ang pinakamahirap yung consent ng employer ang ating mga kababayan,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) assured it will extend aid to the families of deceased workers.
OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the families of both active and inactive members of the agency will receive financial assistance.
“Bereavement financial assistance at a minimum for inactive OWWA members and then there is an additional death and burial benefit for the active OWWA member in addition to other related benefits like livelihood. But there will be a minimun financial basic assistance for all,” Cacdac said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Mon Jocson/Jaycel Valera)
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is pushing for the granting of military honors to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who succumbed to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) abroad as they can be considered as ‘modern-day heroes.’
Senior Citizen Party-list Rep. Francisco Datol Jr. in House Resolution No. 1027 said the sacrifices of OFWs and their significant contribution to the country’s economy are enough to merit them such military honors.
Based on the latest count of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), a total of 577 OFWs have already died of COVID-19 from the overall number of 8,679 confirmed cases across the globe.
Datol said OFWs are qualified under The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines for their unconditional sacrifices as overseas workers.
The lawmaker also proposed that the government shoulder the complete burial expenses of every OFW who died of COVID-19 abroad as part of the full military honors.
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