Family of dead volunteer in papal visit to receive aid

Buena Bernal
Because Judy, the mother of Kristel Padasas, is a long-time OFW, she is entitled to various government benefits from the labor department
HER NAME IS KRISTEL'. Pope Francis himself prays for Kristel Mae Padasas, an aid worker who died after he said Mass for disaster survivors in Leyte Saturday, January 17. Photo by CNS/CRS

MANILA, Philippines – The labor department on Tuesday, January 20, gave assurances assistance would be extended to the family of Kristel Padasas, a volunteer for the papal visit in Tacloban City.

Padasas died after a speaker on a collapsed scaffolding fell on her just as Pope Francis was heading back to Manila, his visit to Tacloban cut short by a tropical storm.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the assistance will be given to the family, as Kristel’s mother Judy is a long-time overseas Filipino worker (OFW) and an active member of the (OWWA).

OWWA is an agency attached to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) tasked to provide social welfare benefits to OFWs and their dependents. 

A psychology graduate of Adamson University, Judy Padasas has worked as a domestic worker in Hong Kong for 19 years. 

“As such, OFW Padasas is entitled to such benefits as job referrals (local and overseas employment) if she decides to stay in the country for good and pursue wage employment, and business counseling and financial literacy training if she chooses to engage in business,” a DOLE statement read.

The older Padasas has reportedly returned to the country and had expressed an intention to stay in the Philippines, as 27-year-old Kristel was the only reason she worked abroad.

Baldoz had promised her psycho-social counseling upon her return. OWWA representatives will likewise be at her daughter’s wake.

If the long-time OFW chooses to run her own business in the country, the government said she can apply for a loan amounting to P300,000 to P2 million from OWWA’s P2-billion credit line meant for local businesses of OFWs.

The loan facility is implemented with the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, DOLE explained.

A P7,500 livelihood starter kit or a P10,000 assistance grant is also available to Padasas through the department’s Balik-Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay program.

Judy’s daughter Kristel was a volunteer with the Catholic Relief Services.

During his encounter with the youth, Pope Francis asked for a moment of silence to pray for the young volunteer.

The visiting Pope likewise met with Kristel’s father Paulino at the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila on Sunday, January 18, as he waited for his wife’s return. –