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CBCP official saddened by death of Pinoy seafarer, calls authorities to prioritize OFWs welfare

CBCP official saddened by death of Pinoy seafarer, calls authorities to prioritize OFWs welfare
Leslie Ann Aquino June 12, 2020

The death of Filipino seafarer Mariah Jocson saddened an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People.

CBCP ECMI vice chairman Bishop Ruperto Santos said it was an overseas Filipino worker’s (OFW) story with a “tragic ending.”

“A life was lost—a life [that] could [have been] saved,” he said in an interview on June 12, Friday.

The Balanga, Bataan prelate urged the government to focus its attention on the situation of OFWs instead of non-essential things.

“Our attention should be more focused on the situation of our OFWs [so] as to give them hope, to help and heal them,” said Santos.

“Prioritize to help our OFWs, let them come home and let them feel welcome. Since there are ayuda, SAP (social amelioration program) and repatriation funds, chartered planes could bring them home to our country, to their provinces,” he added.

It is sad, Santos said, that government officials set their time and talents on non-essential things and not-so-urgent matters.

The prelate asked chaplains to pray and continue to offer Holy Masses for the eternal rest of Jocson and other OFWs who have lost their lives.

“We invoke our almighty God in His mercy to remember their services and sacrifices for their loved ones, and forgive their human frailties,” Santos said.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the untimely passing of Jocson heightened the need to take better care of the psycho-social needs and mental wellness of OFWs awaiting repatriation.

“An array of counseling and helpline services should always be available to our OFWs, especially those still onboard cruise ships,” he said in a statement on Friday.

According to the Labor department, Jocson, who was an assistant waiter for the cruise ship Rhapsody of the Seas, was found lifeless in her cabin on board the ship Harmony of the Seas in Barbados, where she was transferred supposedly for repatriation.

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