Gov't to mount 3 flights to bring home bodies of over 200 Filipinos from Saudi Arabia
The Philippine government will charter three flights to bring home over 200 Filipinos who died in Saudi Arabia amid the coronavirus disease pandemic, Malacañang said on Monday.
"The government will charter three airplanes in order to bring home the 200 plus remains of our fellowmen," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a virtual press briefing.
Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto, in the "Laging Handa" press briefing, said there were 353 Filipinos who perished in the Middle Eastern country and 107 of them were due to COVID-19 infections while 246 were non-coronavirus cases.
For COVID-19 cases and were non-Muslims, he noted that the Saudi government wanted the bodies to be buried within 72 hours.
From what he heard from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, he said that COVID-related cases have to be buried in Saudi Arabia.
As to the other non-COVID-19 cases, he said they would be brought back to the Philippines.
Alonto said the reason many human remains were not sent back to the Philippines was due to almost three-month lockdown in Saudi Arabia.
"There was no movement, no flight there so there's a backlog. That's largely the cause, even up to now the flights are limited," he added.
The envoy said causes of death of the non-COVID-19 cases were natural or due to crimes.
Alonto and Roque assured that the families of those who perished would receive benefits. Celerina Monte/DMS