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Remains of 49 OFWs arrive from Saudi

July 10, 2020 - Friday 2:07 PM by PNA

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MANILA – The remains of 49 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who died in Saudi Arabia arrived in the country on Friday morning, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.

Almost half of them died of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In a statement released on Friday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III apologized for the delay in the repatriation of the OFWs' bodies.

"We sincerely apologize for the much-delayed homecoming owing to the lockdowns and strenuous processes that we have to undergo for their return," Bello said. "The added anxiety to the families caused by the suspended homeward journey is certainly undeserved."

Of the 49 OFWs, 32 were from Dammam, while 17 were from Riyadh.

The DOLE is set to repatriate another batch of OFWs' remains. A total of 44 out of the total 274 remains would be flown from Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

The remains of those who died of Covid-19 would be cremated immediately, while the kin of those who died of natural causes have the option to bury them or have them cremated.

The families of the 274 OFWs would receive bereavement benefits and insurance.

Saudi Arabia has extended its July 4 deadline to repatriate the bodies of the OFWs.

According to the DOLE, 129 of the 274 OFWs died of Covid-19 and 145 died of natural causes. Ma. Cristina Arayata