DFA official says repatriation of 301 OFW remains from Saudi faces delay | Global News
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DFA official says repatriation of 301 OFW remains from Saudi faces delay

/ 02:02 PM July 01, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The remains of 301 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia may not be repatriated as scheduled as the plane that was chartered for the flight going home may not be available on July 4, an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

The Saudi government gave the Philippines until July 4 to fly home the remains of the OFWs from the Middle Eastern country, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said.

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But during an online media forum on Wednesday, DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is seeking to have the deadline extended.

“It’s already being discussed to extend the July 4 deadline because on the part of DOLE [Department of Labor and Employment], they have to mount a chartered plane for this one,” Dulay said.

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“I understand that the plane may not be available by July 4 aside from the fact that when we transport cadavers, there is a lot of paperwork that needs to be done from the Saudi Arabian side,” he added.

Nevertheless, the DFA official assured that all of the remains, including those of OFWs who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), will be brought home.

“The plan to bring home the cadavers will push through, the only issue now really is the matter of the COVID-infected cadavers and [DFA] Secretary Locsin has been consistent to bring all our people, COVID or not, but of course that is still being worked out by the Saudi Arabian government,” Dulay said.

Based on international health regulations, the remains of individuals who died from an infectious disease should be cremated before being transported.

The initial decision of the IATF was to bury the remains of the OFWs who died from COVID-19 since Saudi Arabia does not allow cremation.

However, the families of the Filipino migrant workers who died from COVID-19 requested that their loved ones be brought home.

The IATF later approved the repatriation of the remains of the OFWs who died from COVID-19.

/MUF

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TAGS: Department of Foreign Affairs, DFA, Features, Global Nation, OFW, Overseas Filipino workers, remains, Saudi Arabia
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