OWWA Administrator Carmelita S. Dimzon, led the turnover of the financial assistance amounting to Three Thousand Four Hundred Fifty-Five Canadian Dollars (C$3,455.00) last January 16,2009 to the families of Filipino migrant workers who were killed in a vehicular accident in Edmonton.
The four (4) Filipino migrants, three (3) of which were overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) Renato Huelgas, April Buenaflor Yvette Nones and Ralph Adriano met their untimely demise when the truck they were traveling in slammed into a semi-trailer in Highway 63, near Wandering River. The respective families received the peso equivalent of One Hundred Thirty Six Thousand Four Hundred Seventy-Two Pesos and Fifty Centavos (P136,472.50). The OWWA Chief was assisted by the representative of the First Filipino Alliance Group of Canada Engineer Ron Gallardo, a Filipino community association in Canada.
Dimzon said that the family of deceased OFW Buenaflor, an active OWWA member, received the life insurance and burial benefits from OWWA amounting to Two Hundred Twenty Thousand Pesos (P220,000.00) due to her accidental death.
Administrator Dimzon added that Huelgas, Buenaflor, and Nones are OFWs while Adriano, was a long-time resident of Fort McMurray and an active member of its local Filipino community. The OFWs had all worked for either Tim Hortons or Wendy's for about two years, said Wayne Bigelow, vice-president of operations for Tollcorp Enterprises, the franchisee for both restaurants.
The donation of the Filipino community in Canada were made possible by the First Filipino Alliance Group of Canada led by the Hon. Carl Benito, the first Filipino elected to the of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.
Meanwhile, the OWWA Administrator ordered the further verification of the membership records of OFWs Huelgas and Nones to determine if their families are also entitled to life insurance and burial benefits. Records of Huelgas and Nones indicate that their OWWA membership had already expired but in view of the possibility that their employment contract is good for two years and not for one year only as showed by existing records, their families may yet be able to avail of the said benefits.
Dimzon also encouraged the families left behind to avail of OWWA’s livelihood assistance and ordered Regional Welfare Office IV-A Officer-in-Charge Julie Fabian to assist and coordinate with them in whatever support they may need from OWWA.