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Aid vowed for kin of OFWs killed in Abu Dhabi blast

THE Department of Labor and Employment has assured financial assistance for the families of two overseas Filipino workers who were killed in a gas explosion in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said both victims—Clark Bacud Gasis and Merriner Goc-ong Bertoces—will receive P120,000 bereavement assistance each from the government.

“They will also get insurance benefits if they are qualified members of the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration,” he added.

Bello said OWWA would be ready to provide more aid allowed by law to the families of the victims.

“We will extend to them all the support the government can provide,” he assured.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Officein Abu Dhabi reported that a total of 10 Filipinos, including two children, figured in the deadly accident reportedly caused by a gas leak inside a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant along Airport Road on August 31.

The explosion instantly killed Gasis, 39, an electrical draughtsman from Surigao del Sur and Bertoces, 26, a KFC—Abu Dhabi employee from Negros Oriental.

The blast also caused injuries to eight other Filipinos. Six of them were immediately taken to the Sheik Khalifa Medical Center (SKMC) for treatment. Five of the injured have already been discharged while the other one identified as Rodel Paclibar remained at the hospital for further observation.

When visited and interviewed by POLO officials at SKMC, Paclibar, also a KFC-Abu Dhabi staff, said he was relaying to his supervisor the condition of the gas tank when the blast happened.

Meanwhile, POLO officers also gathered that two Filipino children—a two-month old and three-month old–were also hurt in the incident but are out of danger.

A total of 28 persons including other nationals were involved in the deadly blast, reports said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday night said the Philippine embassy in the UAE reported that one of the Filipino fatalities was near the site of the incident and the other was a passer-by who was hit by the debris.

The DFA said the Embassy is also working with authorities on getting details about some Filipinos who were injured and brought to a hospital.

“Ambassador Hjayceelyn Quintana has reached out to the families of the deceased to express condolences and to give assurance that they will be provided all necessary assistance,” the statement read.

The explosion that hit KFC and Hardee’s restaurants occurred along Rashid bin Saeed Street, a main road to the airport.

The DFA advised the Filipino community in Abu Dhabi to remain safe and be mindful of security and safety protocols.

With Cristina Lee-Pisco

Publication Source :    People's Tonight
Lee Ann P. Ducusin
B.A. Journalism