"When will the agony for the Pepito family end? When will this government live true to its oath of protecting our OFWs? First, they had to pressure the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) to act so Emy's remains can be repatriated. They waited six months for the repatriation. But they still cannot pay their last respects to their loved one as OWWA refuses to give any burial assistance to the family," lamented Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International.
Martinez asserts that Pepito is a documented OFW who paid all the necessary exactions required by the government thus must be fully accorded services sue any paying member. This includes funeral and burial assistance from OWWA.
Emy Pepito, 29 years old, who hails from Osamiz City, went to work as a construction worker in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2006. His dreams in working abroad abruptly ended on a tragic note when he was buried alive in sand mixed with boiling asphalt while he was working on the foundation of a building. The incident happened last November 12, 2008.
"After being stored at the morgue in Saudi Arabia for six months, we are afraid that the remains of Pepito will lie rotting at the Pair Pags in NAIA if the OWWA will continue to deny Pepito's family the assistance that is due them." Martinez exclaimed.
"This is another proof of how neglected OFWs' or their families' welfare are under this government. But, when it comes to collecting fees from OFWs, OWWA is well- known to be very efficient. It is when they are collecting fees that OFWs are bagong bayanis but when they need help, OWWA seems to be deliberately slow when it comes to providing assistance," said Garry Martinez, " Intensifying its labor export policy as government's response to crisis will certainly lead to more cases such as that of Pepito's."
Aside from Emy Pepito, Migrante also cited the cases of Eduardo Reyes who died in Riyadh last March 6, 2009 and Marilou Macam who died last November 23, 2008, in Jeddah whose families, up until now, continue to demand for the repatriation of the remains of their loved ones. ###