Filipina cruise ship worker dies by suicide while awaiting repatriation

Sofia Tomacruz
Filipina cruise ship worker dies by suicide while awaiting repatriation
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr says the 28-year-old Filipina died in her cabin in a cruise ship 'where she's had to stay because repatriation flights back to the Philippines have been suspended again'

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipina working on a cruise ship docked in Barbados died by suicide as she waited to return to the Philippines, making her the second overseas Filipino worker (OFWs) to die under similar circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr announced the Filipino’s death on Thursday, June 11, saying that 28-year-old Mariah Jocson died in her cabin onboard the Harmony of the Seas cruise ship.  

“It is my sad duty to report that a 28-year-old female mariner committed suicide in her cabin in the ship where she’s had to stay because repatriation flights back to the Philippines have been suspended again,” Locsin tweeted. 

 

 

Barbados local news reported the cruise ship docked in the country’s Bridgetown Port last May 27.  Police are currently investigating Jocson’s death. 

Jocson’s death is the second among OFWs, following the death of a Filipino worker who reportedly committed suicide at a Philippine Overseas Labor Office shelter in Lebanon last May 24. 

“We are tartly reminded that Filipino resilience is no excuse to stretch them to breaking point. Di sila goma; tao sila (They’re people, not rubber bands),” Locsin said. 

 

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, at least 50,000 OFWs have returned to the Philippines due to job loss or displacement, overwhelming government officials who are tasked with managing quarantine and testing for each worker. (READ: OFWs struggle through prolonged quarantine in gov’t ‘VIP treatment’)

“I know our quarantine facilities are jam-packed; just don’t know why,” Locsin said. 

Government coronavirus task force officials earlier admitted that the thousands of returning Filipinos’ had ballooned into a “problem” for the government as thousands have been stranded in Metro Manila due to delays and bottlenecks in quarantine procedures. 

The situation prompted the National Task Force COVID-19 to limit arrivals at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to avoid overwhelming the limited number of quarantine facilities. On June 5, government agencies had committed to bring OFWs to their respective hometowns in 5 days after arrival in the Philippines.  

Despite this, many OFWs have remained stranded in the capital region as they wait for government-arranged transport to take them home. – Rappler.com

 

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.