The thousands of overseas workers who perished around the world deserve all the honors the government could give, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Sunday.
The labor chief made the statement as the government moves to wind up its repatriation of the remains of hundreds of OFWs who perished in Saudi Arabia with the arrival of the third batch, most of whom succumbed to Covid 19.
DOLE has so far flown home 137 remains earlier this month, with 71 more arriving to a grand reception Tuesday, July 28.
Bello said the state ceremony for the repatriated remains of OFWs was well deserved.
“Our OFW heroes deserve all the honors they could get,” he added.
“I say they fought a good fight because just like what our migrant workers are known for, they worked tirelessly to make good for their families, and contributed immensely to our country,” he said.
The first 49 remains arrived on July 10, with 19 of them died due to the coronavirus, while 30 from other causes. The second batch, composed of 88 bodies, was flown in on July 19.
Of the number, 28 were from Alkhobar, 11 from Jeddah, and 49 from Riyadh.
The batch had 45 Covid-19 deaths and were immediately brought to crematoriums.
The others were flown back to their respective provinces.
“All expenses for the repatriation, cremation, transportation, and other costs are shouldered by the government,” Bello said.
Of the last batch, 57 succumbed to COVID, while 14 died of other causes.
Bello underscored the whole-of-government approach undertaken to make the mass repatriation of OFW remains from KSA possible.
“To endeavor on the repatriation of the human remains of our OFWs of this magnitude is a first for the government,” he said.
“This would not have been possible without the whole-of-government approach we took. We thank the collaborative efforts of the various agencies which include the DFA, DOH, and the Bureau of Quarantine, DILG, DND, DOTr, MIAA, the Bureau of Customs, the POEA, and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration,” said Bello.