Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz Monday said that the eight OFWs injured in an oil rig explosion in Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, including the family of the OFW who died in the accident, will receive social and other benefits from the government, they being all members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
In a press statement, Baldoz also announced that upon his instruction, Washington, D.C.-based Labor Attache Luzviminda Padilla has dispatched Welfare Officer Saul de Vries to Louisiana to lend assistance to the injured OFWs.
The name of the lone fatality in the accident, an OFW reported to be from Iligan City, has not yet been disclosed pending notification of his family.
“Welfare Officer de Vries is already in Louisiana, together with Oliver Flores and Consul Ron Castro of Philippine Consulate General in Chicago. They had already met with the director of the hospital where the eight injured OFWs are being treated. The hospital will not release any medical bulletin on the victims without proper authorization, except for one Wilberto Ilagan who gave consent to make public his condition. The doctors said his condition is improving,” said Baldoz, citing the on-the-hour report of Labor Attache Padilla.
Padilla, in her report, informed the secretary that she has been trying to call DNR Offshore Inc., the Manila agency of the OFWs, to contact the families of three other patients to give the Philippine Embassy authorization to obtain bulletin from the hospital.
She also said that the OFWs’ employer, Grand Isle Shipyard, Inc., has assured the Philippine Embassy that it will shoulder all hospital expenses and the cost of bringing to the US the family members of the victims, and the repatriation cost of the remains of the deceased OFW.
Baldoz said that aside from checking on the condition of the injured OFWs and assure them of government assistance, Welfare Officer de Vries will also coordinate with the OFWs’ employer, Grand Isle Shipyard, Inc. and its American service provider, D&R Resources, as well as with the families of the workers in the Philippines, on the assistance needed, particularly on the repatriation of the remains of the deceased OFW.
For the injured OFWs, Baldoz said that they will be provided repatriation assistance, which includes airport assistance, temporary shelter at the OWWA Halfway Home, psycho-social counseling, stress debriefing, and provision of transport services or fares for their onward travel to their provinces.
“The OWWA will also provide the injured OFWs with a disability and dismemberment benefit of up to P100,000 for injuries sustained due to the accident while working in the oil rig. If they express desire not to pursue their overseas work anymore and decide to stay in the Philippines for good to either pursue wage employment or venture into entrepreneurial activities, the OWWA will also provide them with the necessary assistance under the National Reintegration Program for OFWs,” Baldoz explained.