Emy Pepito, like many other Filipinos, went to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in search of a better life and to be able to provide a better future for his mother and nieces. Living the destitute land of Misamis Occidental, Mindanao, Pepito left the Philippines to work as a stone mason in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. After only four days of working in the kingdom, an ‘accident’ caused his death. Pepito was buried alive in sand mixed with boiling asphalt while working on the foundation of a building. Pepito was brought to a hospital and declared dead on arrival. That was six months ago. Up to now his body remains frozen in a morgue in Saudi Arabia and his family is still hoping for its repatriation.
BY JOSETTE EMILY DE JESUS
Forty-one migrant victims are in death row; there are over ten thousand stranded OFWs in different countries; more than 23 mysterious deaths of Filipino migrants have been documented under the Arroyo Administration.
Emy Pepito is one of the many OFWs who died in an ‘accident’ under questionable circumstances. He is also one of the many Filipino migrant workers whose issue has been neglected by the government.
Pepito, like many other Filipinos, went to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in search of a better life and to be able to provide a better future for his mother and nieces. Living in the destitute land of Misamis Occidental, Mindanao, Pepito left the Philippines on November 8, 2008 to work as a stone mason in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was recruited by the Gemini International Recruitment Agency.
However, after only four days of working in the kingdom, an ‘accident’ caused his death. Pepito was buried alive in sand mixed with boiling asphalt while working on the foundation of a building. Pepito was brought to a hospital and declared dead on arrival.
Teary-eyed Mrs. Elizabeth Pepito recalled that a day before his death, Pepito called his mother to say that he was going home to attend the graduation ceremony of his nieces to give their award to them. The tragic news of Pepito’s death was delivered by his friend who was also working in Saudi Arabia.
The family immediately sought help for the repatriation of Pepito’s body. According to Mrs. Elizabeth Pepito, she has approached different government agencies including the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Cagayan and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Cagayan. She even asked their Mayor for help.
Every week, the family goes back and forth to different government agencies to appeal for the case of Emy Pepito. Last April 30, 2009 the family was supposed to go to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia after being referred by the DFA. However, they ended up at the office of Senator Jinggoy Estrada to seek for his assistance.
“Hanggang follow up na lang kami. Sila rin hanggang sabi na lang din ‘follow up, follow up’ pero hanggang kailan namin hihintayin yung kapatid ko?” (We keep on following up. They [the government agencies] also keep on telling us to follow up. Until when should we wait for my brother?) Emy Pepito’s siter Charito told Bulatlat.
Kabulan na, wala pa siya kauli! January, February, March, wala magyapon,” (It has been months now! January, February, March, still nothing.) Elizabeth said.
The family has not received any benefits from the employer nor the agency. Instead they received a condolence letter from his employer, Assol Al Benaa of General Contracting, stating that Emy Pepito met an accident while on duty and they will send all the medical reports from the hospital and the police.
Up to now, the family is still demanding for the immediate repatriation of his body which has remained frozen in a Saudi Arabian morgue for six months already.
After several months of knocking on the doors of government agencies, the family has not given up hope. They are hoping that Migrante would help them in bringing home Emy Pepito’s body.(Bulatlat.com)