OFWs mourn sudden passing of Filipino envoy

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Thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) inside bases of the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Afghanistan mourn the death of Philippine Ambassador to Pakistan Domingo Lucenario Jr., a statement from a recruitment expert said on Sunday.

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Lucenario died on Friday when the helicopter that he and several other members of the Pakistani diplomatic corps were riding crashed at the Naltar valley region of northern Pakistan.

Emmanuel Geslani, a recruitment consultant, said the Samahan ng Filipinos and the Pinoy Bunker/Filipinos in Afghanistan were saddened by Lucenario’s passing because he was their “link” to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Lucenario, the statement said, stood as the eyes and ears of the Philippine government inside Afghanistan, where no DFA official is on duty.

“Ambassador Lucenario was instrumental in giving incisive and accurate reports on the actual political and security situations inside Afghanistan which guided the DFA in their assessments of alert levels for that country,” Geslani said.

During the last deployment ban imposed by the DFA in July 2014, it was Lucenario who convinced the department to lift the ban on Filipino workers inside the US and NATO bases.

The bases were then in the process of demobilizing their troops and facilities inside Afghanistan.

Lucenario “was also in very close touch with the Filipinos working outside the bases especially in Kabul where over 300 Filipinos were attached to UN offices like the Unicef and WHO, World Bank, IMF, International Red Cross and ministries of the Afghan government,” Geslani said.

He “sends recommendations to the DFA on the expansion of the exemptions for Filipinos working outside the US bases,” he added.

Citing stories from Roberto Tabloc, an OFW in Afghanistan who has his own construction company there, Geslani said Lucenario was able to persuade the expansion of exemptions for OFWs in Afghanistan.

He added that he is hopeful that such expansion will be announced this month to enable more Filipinos working in Afghanistan to come home for vacations and be documented by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

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