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Pinoy Abroad

OWWA chief: Remains of COVID-19 OFW deaths in KSA to be repatriated


The remains of all overseas Filipino workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be brought home by the Philippine government, regardless if they died of COVID-19 or not, according to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Hans Leo Cacdac on Friday.

"In due time, they will be home. We assure you that. Si [Labor] Secretary [Silvestre] Bello [III] mismo ang nagpapasinaya ng proseso na ito," Cacdac said in a Laging Handa press briefing.

"Lahat po ng mga nasawi na OFWs sa Saudi, 'yun na ho ang isinasagawa natin ngayon, ayon din sa kapasyahan ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force). Whether COVID or not COVID po ay isinasaayos na ang kanilang pagpapauwi," he pointed out.

Cacdac said that a working target date for repatriation of the cadavers has already been set but he cannot announce it just yet.

On Wednesday, Bello said he will discuss the appeal of families for the remains of those OFWs who succumbed to COVID-19 to be brought home.

The initial plan of the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force] is to bury the bodies in Saudi as cremation is customarily prohibited there and health experts have warned of risks of transporting the uncremated bodies of those infected with COVID-19.

Bello said the latest data from the Department of Labor and Employment showed that there are 287 bodies of Filipinos in Saudi Arabia with  pending disposition.

Of this figure of fatalities, 107 died due to COVID-19 while 180 died of other natural causes, according to the Labor chief. —LBG, GMA News

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