OFW refused by Saudi hospital dies from heart attack; remains left outside workplace

OFW refused by Saudi hospital dies from heart attack; remains left outside workplace
Photo from 24 Oras

An ailing overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Saudi Arabia who was refused by a hospital died from heart attack just outside his workplace, with his remains being left outside, according to his family.

According to a 24 Oras report by Emil Sumangil, 58-year-old Benigno Untalan, a crane operator in Saudi Arabia for 28 years, was at their workplace in Al Khobar Tuesday morning when he complained of difficulty in breathing and requested to be rushed to a hospital.

However, it took the company ambulance too long to arrive.

“Two hours po siyang nag-aabang sa labas ng barracks niya, nu’ng dumating ang ambulansya, tinakbo na po siya sa ospital, ‘yun nga lang tinanggihan po siya. Then binalik na ng mga 11, nakabalik po sila sa barracks. Doon na siya namatay sa mismong gate, doon na siya binalot,” said Untalan’s son Billy.

The report showed footage of a black body bag supposedly containing Untalan’s remains that was left outside of their workplace.

Untalan’s family said they have yet to receive a copy of his death certificate, even as his employer and travel agency allegedly refused to coordinate with them.

“Naka-survive sana ang asawa ko. Nilagay pa ang bangkay sa ano, parang aso. Ang bait pa naman ng asawa ko,” said the victim’s wife Alma.

His wife said Untalan had already survived a heart attack in 2019, but still decided to work abroad.

“May tatlo kaming anak na pinag-aaral, kaya kahit may edad na, 58, pinilit niyang magtrabaho, para sa amin. Hindi ko po akalain na ganito ang mangyayari,” Alma said.

“Napakahirap po. Since bata kami si papa nasa abroad na, nangako siya sa amin na last contract na niya itong taon,” said Billy.

The family appealed to the government to help them retrieve Untalan’s remains.

“Mahal na Presidente, nananawagan po ako sa inyo, at nagmamakaawa. Sana po matulungan niyo ang asawa ko na mailibing, makita ko ang bangkay niya,”

Jocelyn Hapal, Policy and Program OIC of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, assured the family that Untalan’s remains could be immediately sent back as it was not a case of coronavirus disease 2019. Source: Jamil Santos/MDM, GMA News

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