overseas Filipinos

Philippines arranging ‘immediate repatriation’ of remains of OFW killed in Turkey quake

Darcie de Galicia

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Philippines arranging ‘immediate repatriation’ of remains of OFW killed in Turkey quake

OFW. Wilma Abulad Tezcan is one of the two Filipinos who died following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey on February 6, 2023.

Courtesy of Nicole Teczan

The Philippine embassy in Turkey says the family of the other Filipino fatality is seeking consent from her husband, a Turk, 'regarding the treatment of her human remains'

LUCENA CITY, Philippines – The Philippine embassy in Turkey is preparing the repatriation of the remains of Wilma Abulad Tezcan, one of the two Filipinos who died following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey.

The embassy said in a statement on Saturday, February 11, that this is upon the request of Tezcan’s family.

“As requested by the daughter and with the consent of the husband, the embassy is arranging the immediate  repatriation of the body of Wilma Abulad Tezcan, an OFW whose identity has been previously reported by the media,” the embassy said.

It added that the other Filipino fatality is married to a Turk so “her family in the Philippines is seeking consent from her husband regarding the treatment of her human remains.”

‘We want to see her whole’

In an exclusive interview with Rappler, Tezcan’s father, William Abulad, earlier appealed to the President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and senators, particularly Raffy Tulfo who had helped overseas Filipinos in the past, to bring her daughter’s remains back home.

William, a former barangay tanod or village security volunteer and now a tricycle driver, told Rappler the family lacked the resources to fast-track the processing of documents for Wilma and her daughter, much less fly to Turkey.

He expressed concern about the practice in Islam of burying the dead within 24 hours. 

“Our family wants to bury her here in the Philippines and we also do not want her cremated,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.

“Ito na po ang huling sandali na makikita namin siya (Wilma) ng buo,” William said, noting that this was the wish of his wife, Lea.

(This will be the last time we can see her whole.)

Nicole, who earlier spoke with Rappler through her grandfather’s Messenger account, had complained about the long list of requirements sought by the Philippine embassy in Turkey, and had expressed hope that “the government finds a way.”

The Philippine embassy said that there are 248 Filipinos in affected regions in Turkey, based on consular records, and that accounting for all of them could take days.

On Saturday, the embassy said that its team “successfully evacuated four families from the city of Gaziantep, more than 200 kilometers from previous operations in Antakya, Hatay.” – Rappler.com

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