NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
The kin of a hard-working Overseas Contract Worker (OFW) who was stricken with Covid 19 in Saudi Arabia could hardly believe claiming a box containing the ashes of their departed family member which arrived on board a sweeper Cebu Pacific flight from Manila at the Bohol Panglao International Airport.
“I never could imagine seeing even just the ashes of my brother, Galileo, would suffice to make me feel his presence.” according to Barangay Captain Leo Gentilles of Panito-an, Maribojoc town, elder brother of the deceased contract worker.
The Gentilles clan gather to await the arrival of Kristinne Joy, wife of the Boholano OFW who is expected to arrive today from Cagayan de Oro City together with their two-year old child.
“Kadong” as he fondly calls his brother was a pest controller working in Abu Dhabi for seven years.
The departed OFW who celebrated his 38th birthday last June 2 was described as “generous and caring to the family.”
The village chief said that he never thought his brother’s ashes would reach back home from Abu Dhabi as government authorities already informed them that his body will just be buried in Abu Dhabi due to difficulties in handling more than 300 Filipino OFWs who died inflicted with the virus.
He could scarcely endure the thought that his brother’s remains will just be buried in a foreign land.
The Maribojoc barangay captain thought of seeking the help of Rep. Edgar Chatto who immediately called the Philippine Embassy in Saudi Arabia to seek help for the shipment of the remains back to the Philippines.
The RP embassy immediately called Orkin Company, the manning agency of the Boholano OFW to make arrangements for the cremation, and later on the shipment of the ashes to Bohol.
Gentilles was one of the 326 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia who died of Corona virus.
Incidentally, a cousin of the Maribojoc born OFW also died, not of Covid, but of a gas tank explosion inside the house where she was working.
Since the kins back home will not allow the cremation of her body, representations were made with the RP embassy for the shipment of the body of the lady OFW to Bohol through Manila, according to Rep. Chatto.