Embassy kept in the dark about Pinay's death in Iraq for 40 days
A Filipina from Mindanao has been dead for over a month in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq before Filipino officials were informed of her death, Iraq Chargé d'Affaires Elmer Cato said in an emotional post on Facebook.
According to Cato, the manpower agency in Erbil that brought the Filipina to Iraq did not call the embassy about her even though her death was immediately reported to it by her Kurdish employer.
Cato said the Filipina died in her sleep.
"It was the employer, not the agency, who reported her death to us last week," Cato said.
He said the employer "felt sorry for the Filipina when he found out she was still in the freezer 40 days after she died."
In a separate Facebook post, identified the Filipina as Laida Hajan.
"Her friends in Erbil know her as Enon--a 36-year-old mother of seven from Barangay Kapian, Indanan, Sulu," he said.
Cato said the agency passed the buck on the employer. It allegedly also lied, saying that they were informed about the Filipina's death "a few days earlier."
"When we asked for her next of kin information so we could convey the sad news to her family in the Philippines the agency said they do not have her emergency contact details," he said.
"This was totally unacceptable. This is not the way to treat both the living and the dead," he added.
It was later learned that the Filipina was a victim of human trafficking who left Mindanao via a "perilous boat ride to Malaysia."
"Like many trafficking victims, the woman in the freezer used an assumed name in applying for a job abroad," Cato said. "Along with several others, she was offered a job in Dubai or Turkey by illegal recruiters in Mindanao."
Cato said they learned of the Filipina's true identity through the help of several Filipinos in Kurdistan.
Cato assured that the Filipina will be home soon. —KBK, GMA News