BOHOL, Philippines – It’s a race against time for a husband and his young son as they take a late evening flight Wednesday, November 29, from Manila to Hong Kong where an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) battles for her life at a hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU).
Ricardo Betasola and his 16-year-old son Kyle, of Inabanga, Bohol, are hoping against hope that they could still see Geraldine Lupian Betasola, Ricardo’s wife and mother of Kyle, alive when they arrive shortly before Thursday midnight November 30, said Inabanga Mayor Josephine Socorro Jumamoy during a phone interview with Rappler.
Geraldine remains in critical condition 4 days after she was hit by a van at a busy road intersection last Saturday afternoon, November 25, according to Lucy Romorosa Rosales, a fellow OFW in Hong Kong.
Rosales said Geraldine was unconscious when she was rushed to the Prince of Wales Hospital, and according to early reports, it would take a miracle for the 36-year-old mother and domestic helper to survive after sustaining severe injuries in the accident.
“We are praying for Geraldine. We are doing our best in giving full support to the family,” Jumamoy told Rappler. “We consider our OFWs our modern heroes. They deserve our all-out support.”
For Ricardo and Kyle to go abroad for the first time is a miracle in itself, which came through the aid of the local government unit (LGU) of Inabanga, 61 kilometers from the capital city of Tagbilaran.
The father and son never had a Philippine passport, Jumamoy said. The father does not have funds for a plane ticket, so the LGU stepped in and provided everything for the father and son’s trip, the mayor said.
After the tragic accident on Saturday, it was only on Monday, November 27, that Ricardo and Kyle were able to fly to Manila and started on their passport application process at the central office of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), as well as to secure a travel permit for Kyle at the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
A minor traveling abroad with only one of the legitimate parents has to secure permits from the DSWD.
“Coming from a remote barangay, they don’t know what to do, or how to obtain a passport and buy a ticket,” shared the mayor. “I assigned staff to assist Ricardo and his son so they could expedite all the requirements and finally fly to Hong Kong on Wednesday.”
“I still don’t know all the details what happened last Saturday. I have been informed that Geraldine is still in critical condition. And we have to do everything so Ricardo and Kyle could see Geraldine in person.”
“I hope it’s not yet late,” Jumamoy added.
Rosales, in a chat message to Rappler, said a sister from Norway is also coming to Hong Kong any time this week.
This writer has not succeeded in getting a word from the sister, or other members of Geraldine’s family, as sketchy reports arrived in trickle since Monday.
Geraldine’s employer is helping in the hospital treatment, Rosales said.
The Philippine Consulate Office in Hong Kong has also been notified of the situation, according to Jumamoy.
Hong Kong, home to tens of thousands of Filipino domestic helpers, is one of the top employment options abroad by those seeking greener pastures.
Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong are estimated to be 130,000, and they constitute the most significant ethnic minority in this free yet China-controlled territory. – Rappler.com