CBCP-ECMI seeks probe of OFW deaths in Saudi Arabia

Published June 23, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Leslie Ann Aquino

An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) is seeking an investigation into the cause of deaths of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia to prevent the loss of lives among migrant workers.

“It is also to right what is wrong, to correct some mistakes and to improve the working conditions of our OFWs,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos, CBCP-ECMI vice chairman.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga. (CBCP / NICO BALBEDINA / MANILA BULLETIN)
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga

Santos asked chaplains to offer a triduum of Holy Masses from June 26 to 28 for the eternal repose of the deceased OFWs.

“May God, in His mercy, welcome them in Heaven, our true Home. May God in His love give strength and solace to the bereaved families,” he said.

He said it is only proper that the remains of the more than 200 deceased OFWs from Saudi Arabia be repatriated to the country in order for their families to pay their last respect and also for them to have a proper burial.

“We, Filipinos, have high respect for the dead. We honour the dead. They are sacred to us. It is just and proper to give them proper and dignified burial. They should be also home, and their loved ones to give their last respect,” he said.

The CBCP official said help should also be extended to the bereaved families.

On Sunday, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had asked the Philippines to bring home the remains of 282 deceased OFWs there.

The government is planning to charter flights to bring the deceased OFWs home.

The labor chief said they already made an appeal for more time to bring home the dead, except those who died of COVID-19.

Of the 282 deceased OFWs, 50 died of COVID-19.

DOLE – International Labor Affairs Bureau Director Alice Visperas, meantime, said there are 287 deceased OFWs in Saudi, and 107 died of COVID-19.

She said the remaining 180 died of natural causes, diseases, and accidents.

Of the 107 that died of COVID, Visperas said, 20 were already buried there.

She said they are hoping to start the repatriation of the remains of the 180 OFWs this week.