MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday, June 26, said that the remains of overseas Filipino workers who died of COVID-19 and other causes will be brought back to the country.
Roque said that the Inter-Agency Task Force has approved this recommendation by the foreign affairs and labor departments during a meeting on Thursday, June 25.
“Pauuwin natin ang mga labi ng lahat ng namatay na Pilipino sa Saudi Arabia at iba pang mga lugar, kasama na pati iyong mga namatay dahil sa COVID-19,” Roque said.
(We will bring home the remains of all Filipinos who died in Saudi Arabia and in other areas, including those who died of COVID-19.)
Earlier, Saudi Arabia asked the Philippines to bring home the remains of 282 Filipinos who died in the Gulf state, 50 of whom succumbed to the coronavirus.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Malacañang said on Sunday, June 21, said the Philippine government decided the bodies of the 50 workers would be buried in Saudi Arabia.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr, however, said that Manila is “working” to bring home the remains from Saudi Arabia.
In a statement on Friday, the Department of Labor and Employment said that 301 Filipinos who died from various causes in several regions of Saudi Arabia will be brought back to the Philippines starting early July, including 152 overseas Filipino workers who died due to the coronavirus.
DOLE said that two chartered planes will separately fly the bodies to Riyadh and Jeddah, and from there will be back to the Philippines by second week of July.
The families and the receiving local governments will be notified by the department. Upon arrival, COVID-19 victims will be brought to “crematoriums of choice” of the family or the LGU, DOLE said Friday.
Families of Filipinos who died from other causes could fetch the remains at the airport, DOLE added.
As of Thursday, 513 Filipinos overseas died of COVID-19 in different parts of the world: Asia Pacific (2), Europe (94), Middle East and Africa (253), and Americas (164). Nearly 8,400 Filipinos have contracted the virus. – Rappler.com