Wednesday, April 23, 2008

OFW Death in Rabigh

Press Release
April 23, 2008

PCG refusal to investigate death of OFW in Jeddah is condemanable;
DFA urge to conduct on-site investigation

Migrante Middle East, an alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organizations based in the Middle East today condemns the Phlippine Consulate General rejecting the plea of concerned OFWs to investigate the incident and circumstances that led to the death OFW in Jeddah last month.

“We condemn the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah for refusing the plea of concerned OFWs and fellow workers to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of OFW Domingo Hidalgo,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante regional coordinator.

According to the reports received by Migrante chapter in Jeddah, OFW Domingo Higaldo is working as a painter for Aramco-Petro Rabigh under the Contractor A.A. Turki Corporation (ATCO). OFW Domingo Hidalgo is from Olongapo City, with two (2) children but separated from wife.

Based on the reports received by Migrante from OFW Hidalgo’s companions and co-workers, on the day sometime on the second week of March before OFW Hidalgo died, he was prepairing and going ready to ride on thier company’s bus service going to their site of work and while on thier way to work he is complaining of chest pain and thus was rushed to Al Nakheel National Clinic in Rabigh, Jeddah.

While on the said clinic, OFW Hidalgo is told to wait for his turn to come so that he will be given treatment only after physical tests and examinations.

A number of Filipino nurses working at the said clinic could attest that OFW Hidalgo’s case was not treated by the clinic that requires immediate attention despite complaints from him of chest pain and having difficulty to breath. That time, his compnions who have brought him to the clinic suspect that he is suffering a “heart attack”.

“OFW Hidalgo’s co-workers explained that he should have been brought by the Clinic staff, as they could not give him immediate relief, to Rabigh General Hospital for his confinement and immediate treatment,” said Andrew Ociones, Chairperson of Migrante-Saudi Arabia chapter.

Ociones said that OFW Domingo Hidalgo’s death has been properly conveyed to PCG more than a month ago and was requested to conduct an on-site investigation at the clinic where OFW Hidalgo was rushed and sad to say died at the said clinic without relief given to him at that very urgent situation.

“Companions of OFW Hidalgo called up again at PCG to follow this case but a certain Mr. Rico Silva, a PCG staff, has put the blame on them instead and reasoned out that they have a lot of cases to attend, thus they don’t have enough time to investigate the death of OFW Hidalgo,” Ociones added.

Despite the standing request for the PCG to conduct an on-site investigation establishing delinquency on the part of the clinic that failed to provide immediate assistance and relief to OFW Hidalgo, the PCG paid no attention and just relied on the information that has been sent via fax machine by the said Clinic.

“We are quite sure that PCG’s report on this incident is but a xerox copy of the report given to them by the said Clinic, thus it will not surely established the facts leading to OFW Hidalgo’s death,” Ociones said.

“We are not even sure if the PCG has sent its representative during the conduct of autopsy or if there is already an autopsy report,” Ociones added.

Migrante’s Monterona and Ociones both lambasted the PCG for sleeping on the death of OFW Hidalgo, whose remains has been at the Rabigh General Hospital for a month now.

Both said that this is typical denial of assistance due to victim OFWs as well as to the growing numbers of ran away and distress OFWs in Jeddah deportation center is but a reflection of Congen Tago’s poor performance, if not lip-service to OFWs.

“We are calling the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), and OWWA to arange to send a team that will conduct a thorough on-site investigation on the death of OFW Domingo Hidalgo and to immediately arrange the repatriation of his remains. Congen Tago and the rest of his Staff should be recalled as this is the nth time where cases of OFW death have been remiss by the PCG, so that they should be investigated too and be made accountable on thier neglectful attitude towards OFWs in distress and ran away.”


Andrew M. Ociones
Migrante-Saudi Arabia Chapter
Mobile No.: 00966 50...

John Leonard Monterona
Regional Coordinator
Migrante Middle East
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

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