RIYADH: ABDUL HANNAN TAGO
Published — Monday 11 February 2013
Last update 11 February 2013 12:26 pm
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) expressed sympathy for their fellow worker who died while on flight returning home.
According to a report, Reynaldo Santos Ofracio, 56, an audio-visual supervisor at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Jeddah, was flying home to fulfill his wish to spend his last moments with his family.
His wife, Dorothy Ofracio, said he was in the late stages of liver cancer. She earlier went to Jeddah to fetch Reynaldo and accompany him back to Manila. Four hours before Saudi Arabian Airlines flight SV874’s scheduled 1:15 p.m. arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday, her husband complained of difficulty breathing and then suffered a seizure.
A crew member, who did not want to be identified, gave Ofracio oxygen and the pilot suggested they make an emergency landing at the nearest airport, but Ofracio’s wife opted to continue with the flight to Manila. About an hour later, she said Reynaldo Ofracio had become unresponsive.
Reynaldo Santos Ofracio was pronounced dead by Dr. Noel Ramirez at NAIA Terminal in Manila.
Filipino migrants’ rights group, Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) yesterday said its officials and members and fellow Saudi-based OFWs are saddened upon hearing the news report about a fellow OFW who died on board an airplane going home.
“We express our sympathy to the family, relatives and friends of our fellow OFW Ofracio, who died on board a flight going home. We have known that he has been sick and suffering from cancer,” said John Leonard Monterona, M-ME regional coordinator.
Monterona added that there are quite a number of OFWs in same situation as that of OFW Ofracio. “We have been witness of our fellow OFWs struggle especially those who are old and sick, and undocumented,” the Saudi-based OFW leader added.
He said that in the port city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia there were close to 12,000 undocumented OFWs.
“Sixty to 70 percent of them are sick women and old. There are those who have been undocumented for six to 10 years or even more,” Monterona added. “But they could not come home due to their need to earn a living for their families back home.”