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3 Filipinos killed, 5 hurt in Taiwan factory fire —Bello

Three Filipinos were killed while five others were hurt following a fire incident in a food factory in Taiwan, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) chair Silvestre Bello III said Thursday.

In a statement, Bello identified the three as Renato Larua, 30, of Cavite; Nancy Revilla of Marinduque; and Aroma Miranda of Tarlac. Their families, he said, have already been informed of the tragic incident.

Bello said the three were killed after fire broke out at the second floor of Lian-Hwa Foods Corporation in Changhua county in central Taiwan at about 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

"My heart goes out to them in their hour of extreme sorrow," Bello said in condoling with the families of the victims.

The MECO chair assured the victims' families of assistance both from the Philippine and Taiwanese governments.

"We are in close coordination with police authorities regarding the incident and investigation, and the swift repatriation of the remains of those who died," he said.

5 hurt

Five other Filipino workers — Sheila May Abas, Jessie Boy Samson, Maricris Fernando, Rodel Uttao and Santiago Suba Jr. — were hospitalized as a result of the fire incident.

All of the injured Filipino workers are in stable condition, except for Fernando who is in the intensive care unit (ICU), Bello said.

"They are still under observation in different hospitals. They suffered severe carbon monoxide poisoning and are currently undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy," said Bello, who visited the injured Filipinos in the hospital.

"As of presstime and per attending nurse. [the] feedback is four of them are already conscious, stable and recovering well. On the other hand, there is still concern regarding the condition of OFW Fernando since she is still in ICU and has not yet regained consciousness. During our visit yesterday, she is undergoing dialysis," he added.

Bello, citing a report from an ICU nurse, said Fernando's urine discharge is very minimal, thus the need for dialysis.

He said a representative of Lian-Hwa Foods Corporation also checked on Fernando's condition a day ago.

Bello's office is also preparing to release P5,000 to the victims of the fire to help on their personal expenses, while the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is also coordinating with Taiwanese authorities and the employers for the necessary documentary requirements for the available benefits.

MECO Taichung, for its part, is also onboard for the shipment of remains, Bello said.

In addition to the benefits due from the employer of the victims, Bello said the victims are also entitled to benefits from OWWA such as P200,000 death benefit, P20,000 burial benefit, education and livelihood assistance, training for members of the families, and compulsory insurance. —Llanesca T. Panti/KBK, GMA Integrated News