FALLEN HEROES. The caskets of the fourth batch of deceased OFWs repatriated from Saudi Arabia are unloaded from a Philippine Airlines chartered flight at the NAIA Terminal 3 on Friday (Aug. 28, 2020). The government has so far repatriated 267 remains of deceased OFWs from the kingdom. (Photo courtesy of DOLE)
MANILA – The remains of 75 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who died in Saudi Arabia arrived in the country on Friday.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the fourth batch of deceased OFWs arrived at the Ninoy Aquino Internal Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 via Philippine Airlines (PAL) chartered flight PR 8683 past 10 a.m.
Of the number, 62 succumbed to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) while 13 others died of other causes.
In a statement, Bello said the massive repatriation of overseas Filipino workers — dead or alive — amid the global health crisis is more than a duty of the government.
“We’re doing this not just because it’s our duty. This is the government’s way of paying respect and giving recognition to our modern-day heroes’ valuable contribution to the growth of the Filipino families and the country,” he said.
The arrival brings to 267 the total number of deceased OFWs from Saudi Arabia that were repatriated to the country, including the first three batches brought home in July.
Bello added that three more bodies of OFWs from Riyadh, that were not accommodated in the chartered flight, were brought home on another PAL commercial flight. They died of non-Covid-19 causes.
From the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 in Pasay City, the remains classified as Covid-19 cases were immediately brought to nearby crematoriums while the rest were transported to their respective provinces at government expense.
Defense Undersecretary Cesar Yano led the welcome ceremonies for the deceased modern-day heroes, together with former labor secretary Marianito Roque representing Bello, and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator Hans Leo Cacdac. (PNA)