DFA Update: 2 OFWs dead from fall

DFA Press Release – The Philippine Embassy in Lebanon reported to Task Force Lebanon and the Department of Foreign Affairs that two Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) died after falling from the apartments of their respective employers.

Ambassador Al Francis C. Bichara said that the two OFWs, aged 23 and 24, died on 26 and 28 July 2006 but confirmed the deaths in the Embassy’s report dated 2 August 2006 after receiving the officially translated police and medico-legal reports from the Directorate General of Interior Security Forces, Mount Lebanon Region.

The Department would not be disclosing the names of the two OFWs pending the notification of the next of kin by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

In the meantime, the Embassy is now arranging for the return of the remains of the two OFWs via Damascus International Airport.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo said, “The Department of Foreign Affairs is deeply saddened by this development and conveys its heartfelt condolences to the families of the two OFWs. We shall work even harder and faster to bring home our Filipino nationals from Lebanon in order to secure them from the dangers of this conflict.” ###

Blogger’s Notes: The press release above is silent on why these OFWs fell to their deaths. I can only imagine that they were trying to escape from their employers so they could come home with the others. Even before the crisis, Lebanon has been known for the suicides of foreign maids. What more during a state of war? Is it even within the realm of the possible for us to decide as one nation to stop deploying Filipino domestic helpers to hig risk areas in the Middle East? $150 a month is not worth the misery and indignity of being today’s modern slaves. An independent and thorough review of the true state of these domestic helpers may be necessary for us to determine which countries have not been as conscientious as the rest of the world in protecting migrant workers so that proper policy changes can be made.

Author: Susan Ople

Susan "Toots" Ople is the President of the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Institute. She's an OFW and labor advocate based in the Philippines.

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