TUGUEGARAO CITY — Displaying the “bayanihan” (mutual assistance) spirit, a group of overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan had started to raise funds for the family of Melody Albano-Castro, their fellow worker who was killed on Feb. 6 in a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Taiwan’s Hualien county.
Members of the Albano family in Abulug town, Cagayan province, have been receiving messages and pledges of donations, not only from Melody’s friends but also from customers of her online retail business.
“They said they have started to pool funds as aid for our family and promised to send these to us as soon as banks reopen after the Chinese New Year,” said Jayson Albano, Melody’s only sibling.
Jayson, 25, said his sister had made friends and had good relations with customers who bought her beauty products and jewelry online, an enterprise she started to augment her salary as a caregiver for a Japanese couple in Hualien.
On Friday, representatives of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration met with the Albano family in Barangay Banguian in Abulug to arrange for the repatriation of Melody’s remains.
The family designated Jayson to fly to Taiwan to claim his sister’s body.
Melody’s husband, Jay-Ar, has been suffering from impaired mobility and speech due to injuries suffered from a motorcycle accident in 2004.
Her father, Nonilet Albano, 49, “can still handle the task physically, [but] we felt that the emotional burden might be too heavy for him to bear,” Jayson said.
From Taiwan, Melody’s remains were to be flown to Manila then to this city, where she would be reunited with the rest of the family.
From here, she would be transported to Abulug, a three-hour drive.
While in Taiwan, Jayson was expected to receive the proceeds of his sister’s insurance coverage and cash assistance from the Hualien county government.