DFA confirms second suicide among OFWs awaiting repatriation

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
DFA confirms second suicide among OFWs awaiting repatriation
The DFA on Thursday confirmed a second suicide committed by an OFW amid the novel conronavirus pandemic.
Department of Foreign Affairs Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr on Thursday announced that a female cruise ship worker awaiting repatriation amid the novel coronavirus pandemic died by suicide.

Locsin said the woman died “where [she] had to stay because flights back to the Philippines [had] been suspended again.” 

He further questioned the severe crowding in quarantine facilities for overseas filipino workers (OFWs). 

The foreign affairs secretary Thursday said Mariah Joscon was a crew member on the Harmony of Seas. He added that the ship’s crew were “detained” while they waited for “repeatedly rescinded repatriation” to the country. 

The Bahamas-flagged Harmony of Seas cruise ship was last located in the Carribean Sea.

This is the second suicide by an OFW awaiting repatriation amid the pandemic. The first instance, on May 23, was a Filipina household service worker in Lebanon who was under the care of the Philippine embassy in Beirut.

“As details on the incident are currently being investigated, the embassy has ensured the safety of the rest of the female wards in the shelter and will provide them counseling, as needed,” the department said at the time. 

DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez said that an investigation is ongoing and the department will abide by the next-of-kin’s wishes on details that may be shared.

He added that the victim was under the embassy’s responsibility for less than 24 hours so “underlying causes were being considered.” 

As of Wednesday, the DFA announced that 382 Filipinos abroad have died of COVID-19. They added that 5,430 FIlipinos abroad tested positive for the virus, with 2,702 undergoing treatment while another 2,346 are recovered or have been discharged from hospitals. 

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