MANILA, Philippines-While extending sympathy to the kin of one overseas Filipino worker who died while on flight going home last week, sectoral partylist group Migrante has renewed its call for the government to send medical attaché for old, sick, and undocumented workers abroad.
“This prompted us to renew our call to Pres. Benigno Aquino III and concerned government agencies such as OWWA and DFA to consider deploying medical attaché or a medical team whose task will look into the medical needs of sick and old OFWs and assist for their eventual repatriation,”said Migrante’s vice-chairperson John Leonard Monterona.
In a statement, Monterona suggested that the medical attaché and its team will be stationed at Philippine diplomatic posts and will provide on-site medical services and guidance.
Three hour before touchdown at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Friday afternoon OFW Reynaldo Santos Ofracio, 56, and who was suffering from liver cancer, died on board while he was accompanied by his wife.
“We have been witness of fellow OFWs struggle especially those who are old and sick, and undocumented…like in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia alone where there were about close to 12,000 undocumented OFWs,” disclosed Monterona who is based in Jeddah.
“Sixty to 70 percent of them are sick women and old. They’re those who have been undocumented for six to 10 years or even more. But could not come home due to the need to earn a living for their families back home.”
Monterona cited the case of OFW Virginia Gabilan, 47, from Iloilo, who is presently confined at a Jeddah hospital for more 3 months as she was inflicted with meningococcemia, an acute and life-threatening disease.
“OFW Gabilan sought a friend’s assistance who in turn endorses her to us. We arranged her hospital confinement and we are working her repatriation with the Philippine consulate in Jeddah. If she could get a medical certificate that she’s ‘fit to travel’ then we are more than happy to see her home and reunited with her family,” Monterona said.
He also cited the case of OFW Mateo Amaro, 67, who succumbed to a lung cancer and died in November of last year abroad.
“His remains still at morgue in a hospital here in Jeddah. We were informed by the Philippine consulate that his remain will be repatriated this week,” Monterona added.
“The cases of Ofracio, Gabilan, and Amaro, are just few of the cases we have been attending…OWWA and DFA should provide them assistance.”