Repatriation of victims’ remains top priority, says Philippine envoy
DOHA THE Philippine embassy is exploring the possibility of compensation from the management of Villaggio mall and owner of the Gympanzee Nursery School for the three Filipino teachers who died in the fire tragedy at the upmarket shopping mall on Monday.
Philippine Ambassador to Qatar HE Crescente Relacion said that this was among the top priorities in extending assistance to the families of the Filipino victims, beside repatriation of the remains of their loved ones.
The Filipino fatalities Maribel Orosco, Margie Yecyec and Julie Ann Soco — all employed as teachers at Gympanzee Nursery School died of asphyxiation.
“The embassy, with the assistance of Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO), had contacted the families of the victims, as of last night. Our primary concern is the repatriation of the remains of the three Filipino teachers, but as of now we are waiting for the result of the ongoing probe on this incident before we can issue a clearance on repatriation. As announced, Qatar has formed a commission to look into the matter and was given one week to solve the case.
So, we expect to receive the result and issue the clearance as soon as possible,” the Filipino envoy told Qatar Tribune on Tuesday.
Relacion said contrary to earlier reports, the three victims were not newcomers to Doha. He said they learned later that one of them had been working in Qatar since 2008 while the two others were here since 2010.
The Filipino envoy also mentioned that the victims’ families will be receiving assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), despite the three victims being nonmember of the agency.
OWWA, an attached agency of Philippine’s Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE), is the lead membership welfare institution that serves and promotes the interest and welfare of overseas Filipino workers.
“The embassy will try to help and extend assistance in whatever ways we can to the families of the victims. At this moment of sadness, we expect the Filipino community in Qatar to unite and work together to reach out to Filipino nationals in need,” the envoy added.
The Filipino community in Qatar, currently 170,000-strong and among the biggest communities in Qatar, is expected to organise fundraising events for the victims’ families.
One of such events will be the ‘Ride For A Cause’ to be held at 7am on Friday. The fund-raising activity, spearheaded by the United Pinoy Motor and Motorcycle Group, will kickoff at the Doha Exhibition Center en-route to the Philippine Embassy where a meeting among Filipino community members and leaders will be held.
Other fund-raising events are expected to be organised, especially since the community is preparing for the grand programme to celebrate the 114th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence at Sheraton Doha on June 8.