By Albert B. Lacanlale
LUBAO, Pampanga—Mayor Esmeralda “Esmie” G. Pineda, of this town, on Wednesday, thanked individuals and groups who facilitated the repatriation of the remains of Arsenio P. Dato, Jr., an overseas Filipino worker who recently died while working in South Korea.
Mayor Pineda, who received Dato’s relatives at the municipal hall on Wednesday, said that she is thankful of the assistance of various government offices and personalities who helped speed up the return of the OFW’s remains to his family in Barangay San Roque Dau II here.
Dato had been employed as a production worker in a rubber and plastic manufacturing company in Gyeonggi-Do Yongin-Si Cheorin-Gu, South Korea since 2010. He was one of the hundreds of Lubao residents hired thru the Employment Permit System (EPS), an employment program between the Philippine and Korean governments.
On July 2, Dato was found unconscious in his workplace and was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead several hours later.
Cleofe, Dato’s wife, said they asked help from the Lubao Public Employment Services Office for the repatriation of her husband’s body and they were promptly assisted in securing visas to Korea.
Cleofe and another relative were issued Korean visas on July 5. They left for South Korea on July 6 and went home with Dato’s remains a few days later.
“Salamat po sa tulong ninyo sa amin. Kung hindi po sa inyo, baka matagalan po ang pagkuha namin ng visa at pagpapauwi sa atin dito sa katawan ng asawa ko,” Cleofe told Mayor Pineda.
However, Mayor Pineda explained that the repatriation procedure would have been long and arduous had it not for the assistance of several agencies and officials, including: Embassy of South Korea in the Philippines; Overseas Workers Welfare Administration; Department of Foreign Affairs; Office of Congressman Mikey Arroyo; Director Yun Jiwon of the Korea EPS Center; Governor Dennis Pineda; and, Korean Affairs Consultant to the Provincial Government of Pampanga Jongphil Choi.
“Hindi po kami ang dapat pasalamatan kundi ang lahat ng mga tumulong para mapabilis ang proseso ng pagpapauwi sa mga labi ng yumao. Kasama niyo po kaming magpapasalamat sa mga ahensiya at mga indibidwal na ito,” Mayor Pineda stressed.
The mayor said that the municipal government only did what it could to help ease the burden to the family “who can’t even properly mourn for their loss because they had to think of the repatriation process first.”