Saudi extends deadline for repatriating OFWs’ remains

THE Department of Labor and Employment has announced that the government of Saudi Arabia has extended the deadline for repatriating the remains of deceased overseas Filipino workers.

In a statement Friday night, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the repatriation has been delayed due to the pending release of documentary requirements, and that the common desire to strictly adhere to the health protocols in transporting them.

“We regret to announce that the repatriation of the remains of our dear OFWs from Saudi Arabia is being delayed due to the pending release of documentary requirements, and our common desire to strictly adhere to the health protocols in transporting them,” Bello said.

“The July 4 deadline has been extended to early next week for us to fly home our beloved modern-day heroes,” he added.

Bello earlier said the country needs to bring home the remains of the dead OFWs by July 4 or the Saudi government will bury them.

He added that the number of OFWs’ remains to be repatriated has gone down from 301 to 274.

Bello explained that some of those who died, particularly of COVID-19, were  buried in Saudi.

“Twenty three of the 152 who died of COVID-19 were already buried. It was permitted by the next of kin,” he said.

Bello also received a notice from Saudi that they buried three more from those who died of COVID.

He assured that they are doing their best to meet all the health protocols and requirements including the permission of the next of kin of the dead OFWs.