Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February 10, 2009


Distressed OFW in Jeddah dies of lung cancer

GMANews.TV02/10/2009 07:44 PM

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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – A distressed Filipino domestic helper who sought refuge at the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah has died of lung cancer, an official of the Overseas Welfare Workers Administration (OWWA) said.

Dr. Romualdo Exmundo, a welfare officer at the OWWA-run shelter for distressed OFWs at the consulate, identified the deceased OFW as Belen M. Mirador, a 54-year-old resident of Barangay Binabaan in Lambunao, Iloilo province.

Exmundo said Mirador died of lung cancer in a hospital in Jeddah at around 2:30 a.m. last Friday. Mirador was diagnosed to be suffering from lung cancer when she was admitted to the OWWA shelter last December 17. She sought help from the OWWA to be sent home, saying she could no longer afford her medical requirements.

Exmundo said the OWWA was working on the distressed OFW’s case but because she was a runaway worker, the process of repatriation often took long.Exmundo said he brought Mirador to hospital last Tuesday afternoon when she complained of difficulty in breathing and of chest pain.
"It's a pity to see our kababayan dying helplessly but what we can do? The biggest problem we always encounter is the securing of exit visa. How can we get an exit visa for a distressed worker especially those who are sick if their sponsor is not cooperating?" Exmundo said. “I hope we can find a better solution to reduce the problems experiencing by our distressed. Even if we have plenty of tickets but if there is no exit visa there is no way a distressed worker can go home," he added.

Exmundo said family of Mirador in the Philippines has already been contacted and that the OWWA is already processing the necessary documents to repatriate her remains.

Mirador was one of about 40 distressed OFWs currently housed at the OWWA shelter. Last year the number wards at the shelter exceeded 70, but around 32 were sent home last month.Among those sent home were a mentally disturbed maid and another cancer-stricken elderly woman. - GMANews.TV

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