CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 9 (PIA) --The national government is set to repatriate tomorrow remains of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from Saudi Arabia.
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said this is the first time that the national government is embarking on a mass repatriation of human remains.
"Tomorrow, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III will lead an inter-agency delegation, together with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to receive 44 human remains. These are OFWS who died in Saudi and whose repatriation was delayed due to the current pandemic," Cacdac said.
He added that of these number, 18 are coronavirus disease (COVID-19) related deaths, while the remaining 26 are non-COVID related.
"Remains of those who died from COVID-19 will be cremated upon their arrival in Metro Manila, as agreed upon by their family members," Cacdac said.
Of the 26 non-COVID related deaths, around seven or eight will be buried based on the request of their family members. However, the administrator said that they need to be buried within 24 hours upon their arrival in Manila.
Aside from the repatriation of human remains, Cacdac reported that the government is approaching the 80,000 mark of OFWs who have returned to their home provinces.
Relative to this, Mabalacat City Mayor Crisostomo Garbo sought the help of OWWA to repatriate at least 20 seafarers from the city who are still stranded overseas.
Cacdac vowed to help them return to their homes.
"We'll get their details. Then we will contact them and their licensed manning agency so we can ensure their return home. It's just a matter of coordination with their shipping lines and manning agencies so these can act quickly to get our people home," Cacdac said.
The repatriation of OFWs is part of implementing President Duterte's directive to reunite OFWs with their families during these difficult times.
"We continue to provide food, accommodation, and transport services to returning OFWs averaging 1,000-2,000 individuals daily," the OWWA chief said. (CLJD/MJSC-PIA 3)