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88 more deceased OFWs from Saudi Arabia back in PH

The Philippine government on Sunday, July 19, brought back the remains of 88 overseas Filipino workers who died in Saudi Arabia. This is the second repatriation flight of deceased workers from the Gulf State since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Department of Labor and Employment gave the update on Sunday, after bodies of the first 49 Filipinos were brought back to the Philippines last July 10. 

The DOLE gave the following breakdown of OFWs whose bodies returned home on Sunday: 

  • From Al Khobar: 28
  • Died of COVID-19: 17
  • Non-COVID-19: 11 
  • From Jeddah: 11 
  • Died of COVID-19: 11
  • From Riyadh: 49
  • Died of COVID-19: 17
  • Non-COVID-19: 32
  • Total: 88
  • Died of COVID-19: 45
  • Non-COVID-19: 43

The deceased Filipinos were brought back through two chartered flights. 

In receiving the OFWs’ remains, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said the Department of Foreign Affairs and its foreign posts “will do whatever it takes to bring our distressed OFWS home on their feet or on their backs.” 

Locsin offered his condolences and honored families of overseas Filipino workers who died. 

“Though there is no speech or ceremony, no tribute or salute that can ease you pain, we join together in this memorial to give recognition to their contributions and sacrifice that will fill your hearts with our grief and gratitude,” Locsin said. 

What happened? Saudi Arabia had earlier asked the Philippines to bring home the remains of nearly 300 Filipinos who died in the Gulf state, at least 50 of whom succumbed to the coronavirus.

Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto earlier said other Filipinos died of natural causes but that lockdowns and flights canceled due to the coronavirus led to delays in bringing the remains of OFWs back home. 

The DOLE earlier said after the remains of OFWs in Saudi Arabia are brought home, the country will work to bring back deceased OFWs from other parts of the region. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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