The remains of nearly 300 deceased overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are still in Saudi Arabia after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) failed to meet the July 4 deadline set by the government of the Middle Eastern country.

According to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the delay is due to the “pending release of documentary requirements” and “to strictly adhere to the health protocols in transporting them.” He added that the Saudi government extended the deadline until early next week.

Bello said that there are 129 OFWs in Saudi who died of COVID-19, while 149 died of natural causes, in which four were already repatriated. Some of those who died due to COVID-19 were already buried in Saudi with permission from their relatives in the Philippines. Only the remains of 274 dead OFWs need to be brought home.

If DOLE fails to comply again with the extended deadline offered by the Saudi government, it will bury the bodies in Saudi Arabia.

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