MANILA – Malacañang on Sunday bared that the remains of some 50 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who died of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) will be buried in the host country.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that the remains of the 50 OFWs will not be brought back to the Philippines.
“Per the Department of Labor and Employment, the remains of the 50 OFWs who died due to Covid-19 related illnesses will be buried in Saudi Arabia following the host country’s local customs,” he said.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello, in a radio interview, said King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia has asked Philippine authorities to bring home the remains of 282 OFWs.
Bello said the Philippines was given 72 hours by Saudi Arabia to bring home the remains of the OFWs since cremation is not allowed in the Middle Eastern country.
Roque also expressed sympathies to the families of the 282 OFWs who died in Saudi Arabia due to natural and other causes.
“We offer our prayers to the deceased and to those they left behind,” he said.
He assured that concerned agencies of the government have already been directed to extend assistance to their families.
The 282 OFWs who died in Saudi Arabia refer to the combined number of OFWs who died there since the country imposed a lockdown in February, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
On Sunday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) disclosed that one more Filipino abroad was infected with the Covid-19, bringing the number of OFWs contracting the disease to 6,141.
In its case bulletin, the DFA said there are 11 new recoveries and one new death in the Middle East.
The total number of recovered cases overseas is now 2,862, while the death toll has climbed to 496.
Meanwhile, a total of 2,783 Filipinos abroad are still undergoing treatment.
The DFA has brought home a total of 51,113 overseas Filipinos (OFs) since it began repatriating Filipinos affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2020. (PNA)