Friends stop fundraising, DFA to shoulder repatriation of Filipino couple from Maldives
Erika, 29, and Leomer Lagradilla, 30, were guests in a resort on Dhiffushi island and were snorkeling when they drowned.
Facebook/Erika Joyrce Lagradilla via NQ Modern Photography
Friends stop fundraising, DFA to shoulder repatriation of Filipino couple from Maldives
( - January 15, 2019 - 11:20am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs has reportedly vowed to shoulder the expenses to bring the remains of a newlywed Filipino couple home from the Maldives, according to the couple's friends.

Erika and Leomer Lagradilla's honeymoon turned into a tragedy as the couple drowned while reportedly snorkeling near their resort on Dhiffushi Island.

The details of the incident are not yet clear, according to Leomer's sister Mhapolle Lagradilla.

"They cannot give the full details why my brother and sister-in-law drowned. As of now, nobody from the hotel has messaged us what really happened," Mhapolle told radio dzMM on Monday.

Facebook user Nikko A. Quiogue, a friend of the couple, said the family of Leomer and Erika had a positive meeting with the DFA.

"Accordingly, DFA will shoulder the expenses in sending Eka and Leomer's remains back home. Hopefully, this good news will be confirmed tomorrow by Leomer's father after his meeting with DFA Usec," Quiogue said in a Facebook post.

Prior to the meeting with the DFA, the family and friends of the couple were raising funds online as bringing their remains back to the Philippines would cost about P1.2 million.

"In connection to this, we would like to let you know that we have decided to stop accepting donations as we believe that due to the mentioned optimistic progress of this case, we no longer serve the purpose of creating a fundraising campaign anymore," Quiogue said.

Erika and Leomer, who are both from Laguna, have been in a relationship for 11 years already before deciding to tie the knot, according to the groom's sister Mhapolle.

Both were breadwinners of their families and had to embark in a long distance relationship for six years to make ends meet. Both are nurses by profession but their work has brought them to separate parts of Asia — Singapore and Riyadh, respectively.

The two got married on Dec. 18, 2018 and left Manila for their honeymoon on January 9.

The family and friends of the couple have expressed their gratitude to those who have donated for the fundraising campaign and are willing to return the donations as the government is set to shoulder the expenses. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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