PH arranging cargo flight to bring home remains of 282 OFWs from Saudi — Locsin
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is currently arranging a cargo flight that would bring home from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the remains of the nearly 300 Filipinos there, 50 of whom succumbed to the coronavirus disease.
This was according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., who was assured by Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Manila that it would extend help to the Philippines in repatriating the remains of the Filipinos.
“I met with the Saudi Ambassador and there was a fear going around that they would dispose of the bodies and he said ‘No we don’t do that. We’re a Muslim country, we do not cremate. I can assure you the bodies are all intact and we are ready to help you bring them home’,” Locsin said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel on Monday.
“How fast will we do that? We need a flight to get there. We’re getting a cargo flight even as we speak,” he added.
The remains would hopefully be back in the Philippines next week, the foreign affairs chief added.
According to Locsin, the 50 overseas Filipinos who died from COVID-19 would be cremated once they are back in the Philippines.
“I’m afraid they’d be cremated. The [Department of Health] is handling that,” he said.
“I understand if they were cremated [before going back home], it would be much easier but still, the Kingdom does not believe in that practice. They’re very strict and they accord the remains of the deceased an extraordinary degree of respect regardless of religion,” he added.
Saudi Arabia gave the Philippine government 72 hours to bring home the remains of the 282 overseas Filipino workers there, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said over the weekend.
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