The Philippines was on Wednesday planning to ask Saudi Arabia for an extension to a July 4 deadline to repatriate the bodies of hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the Kingdom.
Government officials said the need to seek more time to fly home the deceased OFWs – many of whom had died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – was due to logistical issues.
He added that the government was working round the clock to repatriate the bodies of 274 OFWs from the Kingdom.
Some of the measures for the initiative included maintaining health protocols, the procurement of exit visas, and permission from employers and next of kin.
Initially, the remains of 301 OFWs were set to be repatriated, out of which 152 had died from COVID-19 and the remainder due to “natural causes,” said Bello.
However, he added that 23 out of those had already been buried in Saudi Arabia. The remains of four others – whose deaths were not related to COVID-19 – had been flown back to the country through the efforts of relatives.