THE remains of 49 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were finally brought home from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Friday, July 10, 2020.
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III personally led the team that welcomed the arrival of the bodies on board a chartered Philippine Airlines flight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
"The PAL cargo plane arrived at 10:30 a.m. carrying 49 remains of OFWs. Of this number, 20 died of Covid-19, and 29 from other causes," the DOLE said in a statement.
The deceased OFWs came from Dammam (32) and Riyadh (17).
DOLE said five additional OFW bodies came from Riyadh.
"Next to be brought back are those from Jeddah and other parts of the region of Saudi Arabia," said Bello.
The remains of 274 OFWs, which have piled up since February, are set to be repatriated by the Philippine government.
In his speech, the DOLE chief expressed condolences to the families of the "fallen modern-day heroes".
"We join the bereaved families of our fallen modern-day heroes as we receive them back on our soil, and give them honors in an extremely extraordinary situation," said Bello.
He also reiterated the government's apology for the delayed repatriation of the OFW remains citing the imposition of lockdowns and the tedious process.
"The added anxiety to the families caused by the suspended homeward journey is certainly undeserved," said Bello. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)