DOLE assures assistance to kin of 13 Pinoys killed in Iraq fire
The families of the 13 Filipinos killed in a hotel fire in the Kurdistan region in Iraq are set to receive benefits from the government, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said Monday.
The benefits, given to families of OFWs who are members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), are in the forms of death insurance, entrepreneurial skills training and educational assistance for the victims' children.
"If the OFW is an OWWA member, they will be entitled to death insurance, if their children wish to avail of educational assistance, they can be provided by applying," Baldoz said.
"If immediate the family member plans to engage in business, they can avail of entrepreneurial developmental training," she added.
Baldoz said the financial assistance will be sourced from the integrated livelihood program of the Department of Labor and Employment.
"We’ll make sure employers will give families of OFWs who perished will be able to collect the benefits that are due them, life insurance, unpaid wages et al.," she said.
The 13 were among the 17 people killed in a fire that struck Capitol Hotel in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan autonomous region, on Friday evening. They were all employed in the hotel.
Investigators said the victims all died because of suffocation.
The Philippine government has placed most of Iraq under Alert Level 4, which calls for mandatory repatriation. Kurdistan, however, remains only under Alert Level 1 due to a more "stable security situation."
The repatriation of the victims, which will be shouldered by the employers, is being coordinated with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
"The repatriation will be shouldered by employers. If employer fails, OWWA will shoulder the repatriation. Both, member or not," Baldoz said. —KBK, GMA News