The Department of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said there were 13 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who died in a road accident in Saudi Arabia as opposed to the earlier reported 14 deaths.
Citing reports from Kentzm, a contracting and engineering company where the Filipinos worked, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the “embassy has revised the figure of casualties from 14 to 13.”
Jose added that the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh is coordinating with the employer of the Filipinos for the investigation and the repatriation of their remains.
“Our embassy will assist in the repatriation of the remains as soon as the police investigation has been completed,” he said.
The employer also informed the families of nine out of the 13 Filipinos who died in the accident.
Families of the late OFWs should be given swift assistance by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), according to Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“The DFA should immediately accomplish all the requirements so the remains of those who were killed can be repatriated as soon as possible. Also, the OWWA should ensure the speedy release of all assistance for the family of the deceased OFWS and for those who were injured,” Marcos said also on Thursday.
Reports said a coaster was involved in the road accident around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Hofuf, Al-Hassa in the oil-rich kingdom’s eastern region.
The twenty-six Filipinos– mostly electricians–who were aboard the coaster were on their way from the worksite to their quarters when the accident happened.
The reports said a delivery truck had rammed the coaster.
“It is in this time of distress of the families of the late OFWs when they need most to feel that the government really cares for them,” Marcos said.
“It grieves us that they met this tragic fate while striving for a better future for their families back home. The last thing we want to hear now are complaints that the government is not doing enough to help them,” he added.
According to the senator, the family of a deceased OWWA member is entitled to receive P220, 000 in total financial assistance if an accident is the cause of death.
Survivors of a deceased OFW, he said, are also entitled to educational assistance amounting to P5,000 for elementary, P 8,000 for high school and P10,000 for college per school year, while livelihood assistance amounting to P15,000 is also given to the surviving spouse.
Marcos suggested that the government adopt an aggressive job generation program so Filipinos will no longer have to leave the country just to find a job to support the needs of their families.
The senator earlier said that if he wins as Vice President in the 2016 elections and be made to pick a portfolio, he would choose the Department of Labor and Employment because he has concrete plans to improve job generation while initiating better protection for the country’s workers.