OFWs death toll in Mid-East rising; gov’t urged to investigate

MANILA, Sept. 16, 2009—The statistics of deaths involving overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) is rising and Migrante Middle East, an alliance of OFW organizations in the region has raised the alarm, urging the Philippine government to thoroughly investigate the cases.

“Just few weeks back, we have received reports of the mysterious death of three OFWs. Waiting for the release of the autopsy and police reports, the cause of their deaths are yet to be known,” says John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, in a statement.

Liver and kidney problems: are they the real culprits?

One of the cases involves Daniel Enera, who died 14 September, 2009 in Obaidah Hospital in Malaz District in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Monterona said the late OFW’s sister, Marita Parales, who’s working also as a household help in Riyadh, called him and confirmed the death of his brother, who was diagnosed with kidney and liver problems.

He was working as a mechanic for the Alkifah Building Materials Co. and was deployed by YHMD International Manpower Services with office located at Mabini St., Ermita, Manila.

“He only worked there for two months,” Monterona said.

Monterona suspects, Enera has contracted the disease due to his work as a mechanic.

Four days after communicating to her family, OFW dies

Another case was of Mensuita Basibas who was reported to have died last 10 August 2009.

“The family of the deceased said, there is someone who called and informed them about Mensuita’s passing but failed to identify himself. However, Mensuita’s family has been able to talk to her on August 6, or four days before her death. The family, as they told me, does not discount the possibility that there’s a foul play,” explained Monterona.

Her remains, Monterona said, has been repatriated last 10 September as confirmed by the Philippine Embassy-Assistant to the Nationals Section.

“Her cadaver was brought back to the Philippines by Cathay Pacific Flight Nos. CX-730, from Riyadh to Hong Kong; and by CX-266, from Hong Kong to Manila,” says Monterona.

Death by machine for Dominador Quieta, 48

Another case of mysterious death, involving a Filipino worker, is the case of Dominador Quieta.

Quieta, 48, was working as quality control inspector for Group Five Pipe, a local Saudi company and was reportedly died on 20 July 2009.

“Dominador’s family also does not discount foul play for as the time of his accident, he was inside the machine room doing some repairs. Until suddenly the machine has been turned on, killing him in an instant,” said Monterona.

As of this writing, the remains of Dominador and Daniel are still in Saudi Arabia while the Philippine Embassy-ANS is working for the formalities of their repatriation.

Migrante wants an investigation

On the average, 10 OFWs are being brought to the Philippines, nailed in coffins, said Monterona.

Most of them, says Monterona, died in an unexplainable circumstances.

“Three deaths, the causes remain not established. This is intolerable! So, we demand for a thorough investigation by the Philippine Embassy-Assistant to the National Section, not only to establish the facts about the deaths of these OFWs, but to make the culprits—if there is really a foul play—accountable and punished to the full-extent of the law, so that justice be served to the victims and their families,” said Monterona.

Monterona, meanwhile, calls the attention of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Carmelita Dimzon, to provide the necessary burial assistance and other assistance due to the families of OFWs Enera, Basibas and Quieta. (First appeared at CBCPNews.com)