KUWAIT – Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo Endaya and other embassy officials went to the Abdullah Al-Mubarak Airbase to check on the bodies of 10 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who died in a chopper crash in Afghanistan last July 19.
Endaya told ABS-CBN News, “So far, nasabi sa akin ng mga American authorities na sa sampung Pilipino, dalawa lang ang identified at ‘yung walo ay hindi pa na-a-identify.”
Ten Filipinos were among the 16 passengers who died when the civilian MI8 chopper they rode crashed a few minutes after take off in Kandahar, Aghanistan.
According to the US military, they were only able to identify two victims as the bodies were completely charred. They are Manolito C. Hornilla of Taysan, Batangas and Leopoldo G. Jimenez, Jr. of Lubao, Pampanga.
Hornilla was identified after finding his burnt passport with him. While Jimenez was identified when authorities found his identification card and burnt wallet.
“I am recommending therefore na ipa-DNA testing sila sa Dover, Maryland para malaman kung kani- kaninong mga bangkay ang mga ito para ma-claim ng kanilang pamilya sa Pilipinas,” said Endaya.
The eight victims awaiting identification are Celso Q. Caralde (born in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental), Ely I. Cariño (Cabusao, Camarines Sur), Ernesto C. De Vega (Naic, Cavite), Mark Joseph C. Mariano (Floridablanca, Pampanga), Marvin P. Najera (San Fernando, Pampanga), Rene D. Taboclaon (Cagayan de Oro City), Recardo E. Vallejos (Bislig, Surigao del Sur) and Noli M. Visda (Lubao, Pampanga).
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, meantime, is coordinating with the employer of the crash victims.
“Ang nakita ko doon ang nag-issue ng authority to board the helicopter is a certain company called AIM,” said Endaya, adding “Samantalang ‘yong sa incident report na inissue ng US Military authorities sa Kandahar ang nakalagay don Flour Intercontinental.”
“Siguro yong isa sub-contractor at main contractor ‘yong pangalawa… Pero dapat ‘di sila nagtuturuan dahil joint and several ang kanilang liabilities,” added Endaya.
Despite the Philippine government’s deployment ban of OFWs to Afghanistan, around 1,500 OFWs are said to be working there amid security concerns.
“Nanawagan po ako uli sa mga Pilipinong gusto magtrabaho sa Afghanistan napakadelikado po ng bansang ito,” warned Endaya.
“Ayan na po ang resulta…Sampung Pilipino ang namatay.”
“Kaya kung balak niyo magtrabaho sa Afghanistan, isipin niyo po ng isandaang beses bago kayu tumulak don,” he said.
Endaya advised aspiring migrants: “Sa ibang lugar na lang po kayo mag-apply… huwag na lang sa Afghanistan o kaya sa Iraq.” Report from Maxxy Santiago, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bure