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MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is working on the return of the remains of 301 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who died in Saudi Arabia by July 4, the department announced on Sunday, June 28.
“We were given a deadline of July 4, so we hope to bring them back before that deadline,” DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement.
Of the 301, 152 died of COVID-19 while the rest died of various causes.
The repatriation of the OFWs’ remains is expected to bring closure to their grieving families who have been waiting for their return, which has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. (READ: PH aims to bring home bodies of deceased OFWs from Saudi Arabia this week)
The announcement came after Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco said the agency is willing to increase the number of flights to bring home more OFWs.
“Our permit to fly is actually based on requests and not on restrictions. So if government agencies requests more flights to help our displaced workers abroad, we allow them,” Sydiongco said.
The Department of Health is expected to issue the protocols to be observed in the handling, reception, and domestic transport of the remains. – Rappler.com