OWWA assumes $12K repatriation cost for OFW body

>> Sunday, June 27, 2010

QUEZON CITY - Finally, the month-old frozen body of Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Benjamin Yango, English teacher in Harbin, China was flown to the Philippines on June 23, 2010.

This, as Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration (OWWA) Chief of Advocacy and Information Division, Overseas Operations Coordinating Service Director Ed Bellido, speaking in behalf of OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon, said that “OWWA shall assume the repatriation cost in the amount of US$12,260.00.”

Bellido added that Yango, as an active OWWA member at the time of his death, is also entitled to P120,000.00 representing death and burial benefits from the government agency.

Benjamin Yango, 33, was found dead in his apartment on May 21, 2010. He is believed to have died of heart attack 2 or 3 days before he was found by the Police. There was no autopsy done on his body. It was learned that Benjamin’s wife, Fely Yango, decided to forgo autopsy of the body to prevent further delay of the body’s repatriation.

Yango’s remains was finally flown home to Baguio after a month of processing repatriation papers and sourcing funds to answer excessive repatriation costs which ballooned up RMB 86,000 or PhP596,000.00. This led friends, relatives, and kaliyans of Yango to solicit from friends and kailyans worldwide to defray the repatriation cost.

An online petition signed by nearly 200 signatories worldwide also called on the Philippine government particularly OWWA, the Philippine Embassy in China and the Undersecretary on Migrant Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the Philippines to provide monetary assistance for the repatriation of the body.

It was learned that DFA’s undersecretary for migrant workers affairs Esteban Conejos Jr said that the costs and procedural work for the repatriation of a deceased Filipino worker is the responsibility of either the worker’s employer or recruitment agency. Yango did not go through a recruitment process.

It was learned that Yango’s employer paid the equivalent of P14,600 for the cost of freezing of the body for 23 days.

Yango traces his roots from Bontoc, Mountain Province and Benguet./by Gina Dizon


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