MANILA, Philippines — Remains of overseas Filipino workers who died of the coronavirus disease and have been buried in Saudi Arabia will not be exhumed and sent home to the Philippines anymore, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Monday.
Vergeire said that this decision was in line with government’s health protocols.
“Hindi na po natin ipapahukay lalong lalo na po kung ito talaga ay namatay from COVID-19 because that’s part of our sanitation protocol, na kapag nailibing na hindi na pwedeng hukayin ulit or kaya ay buksan ulit dahil baka magkaroon tayo ng issue sa health,” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo when asked if bodies of Filipino COVID-19 fatalities already buried in Saudi Arabia can still be retrieved.
(We will not exhume the bodies especially since they died of COVID-19 because that’s part of our sanitation protocol, that if they were already buried, their bodies cannot be recovered again considering that there might be health issues.)
In a text message to INQUIRER.net, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said there are 20 OFWs who died of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia and were already buried there.
The Philippine government plans to bring the remains of 301 OFWs from Saudi Arabia back to the country by July 4. Of that number, 152 died of COVID-19.
Bello earlier said that bodies of the Filipino COVID-19 fatalities to be flown home from Saudi Arabia will be transported directly to crematoriums identified by their respective families or local government units upon arrival in the country.
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