OFW guide: What family members can do if an OFW dies abroad
If an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) passes away abroad, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said there are certain procedures to follow in bringing home to the Philippines the remains of the deceased.
In an interview with GMA News Online on Thursday, OWWA Advocacy and Social Marketing division officer-in-charge Reynaldo Tayag, said the following must take place before the remains of the deceased OFW can be repatriated:
(1) The employer, fellow-OFWs, or the hospital must inform authorities in the country or the family about the OFW’s death. This will be relayed either to the PHL Embassy or Consulate in that country.
(2) A welfare officer from the OWWA and an Assistant to Nationals officer from the Embassy/Consulate will form a team to conduct an incident report.
(3) The Embassy/Consulate will coordinate with Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)- Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) in the Philippines about their findings.
(4) DFA-OUMWA and/or OWWA will search for and inform the family of the deceased.
(5) DFA-OUMWA will counsel the family and guide the family on what to do next for the repatriation of the remains.
(6) After counseling, the family will be advised to visit the nearest regional office of the DFA-OUMWA and/or OWWA to get the exact details of death and other relevant information.
(7) The DFA-OUMWA and/or OWWA will explain the repatriation procedure, the estimated time it may take, and the required documents for the process.
(8) Once everything has been cleared and there is a specific date of arrival of the OFW’s remains, the family will be asked to coordinate with a funeral home for burial or cremation arrangements.
(9) The DFA-OUMWA and/or OWWA will then provide airport assistance for the family and also ensure that the belongings of the OFW are returned.
(10) The family can then claim the benefits for an OFW who is an active OWWA member:
- Death due to natural cause: P100,000
- Death due to accident: P200,000
- Funeral service: P20,000
- Livelihood program for the family
- An educational grant for one child in a public school
Natural death, crime-related death
Tayag mentioned that the remains of an OFW who died of natural causes could be repatriated faster than those of someone whose death was caused by a criminal act.
Processing crime-related deaths (ie. murder) usually take at least six months to finish due to police investigations and court hearings.
Tayag also said the employer plays a big role in the repatriation of the OFW’s remains and should shoulder most costs including airfare.
However, in cases where the employer does not want to take responsibility, the following may take place:
- Undocumented OFW: may be handled by the DFA;
- Documented OFW but not active OWWA member: handled by OWWA with funds requested from the head office and other non-government organizations, and
- Documented OFW and active OWWA member: may be handled by OWWA
For further assistance, please contact:
- DFA: (632) 834-4000
- OWWA: (632) 891-7601
- OUMWA: (632) 834-4996
To read this article in Filipino, please go to: OFW guide: Mga dapat gawin ng pamilya para sa OFW na namatay sa abroad