Photo courtesy of CBS News   

MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported on Tuesday that another Filipino died due to the wildfire that engulfed Maui Island in Hawaii earlier this month.

Eduardo De Vega, the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, conveyed that the second victim was identified as Rodolfo Rocutan, aged 76.

The Philippine Consul in Hawaii has highlighted the meticulous process involved in identifying the deceased individuals amidst the wildfires. Rocutan had renewed his passport at the Philippine Consulate last year. Authorities have been in contact with his family, as mentioned by De Vega.

The Philippine Consulate is currently in the process of confirming the identities of two other possible Filipino casualties. These families will be provided assistance by the Philippine government, including arrangements for cremation and the repatriation of the remains, as per their requests.

Paul Cortes, the Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs, stated that the current death toll from the wildfires stands at 114, with search and rescue operations ongoing. Cortes emphasized that the likelihood of Filipinos being affected by the Maui wildfire is significant due to the sizable Filipino community residing there.

In a public briefing, Cortes stated, “The probability of our compatriots being affected by the Maui wildfire is very, very high because of the substantial Filipino population in Maui.”

Cortes also mentioned that the DFA is actively assisting Philippine passport holders with their documentation needs, as some of these vital documents were lost during the wildfire’s destruction of their homes.

“The initial and perhaps most crucial form of documentation and identity for our fellow citizens abroad is their Philippine passport. We are aiding them in reconstructing their documentation, including birth certificates and marriage contracts… Hopefully, for our fellow citizens in Maui or Lahaina, they can gradually rebuild these vital paperwork,” he explained. (ai/mnm)