Government ready to assist families of Filipinos who died in Ukraine plane crash

MANILA, July 19 (PNA) — The government made an assurance on Saturday that it is ready to extend assistance to the families of Filipinos who died in a plane crash in Ukraine especially in bringing home their remains.

Three Filipinos were confirmed to have died in the crash on Friday after Malaysian airliner bound for Kuala Lumpur was shot down in Ukraine.

The families of those who died wants assistance from the government in facilitating for their repatriation.

“Handa naman po tayong mag-extend ng ganitong assistance. Normally, we do extend repatriation assistance to the loved ones of our Filipinos who may have perished in other countries,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

Valte also said the government will extend help if the families wish to go to Malaysia or The Netherlands to arrange for bringing home their loved ones.

“Kung sakaling nanaisin po nilang pumunta either sa Malaysia or sa Netherlands, handa rin po tayong magbigay ng tulong kung sakaling kailangan po nila ng passports or ng mga visas,” Valte said.

The Philippine government also has no information whether the remains of the three Filipinos were recovered from the crash site because of the ongoing unrest in the area.

Valte said investigations have to establish first who controls that region to recover the bodies. And there will be difficulty doing that due to instability in the eastern part of Ukraine.

There is a Consulate General of the Philippines in Kiev, Ukraine and there is a Philippine embassy based in Russia, who may assist in facilitating repatriations, Valte said.

The President has been informed about the crash on Friday and the deaths of the three Filipinos, according to Valte. The President extended his condolences to all the affected families.

“Rest assured that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is coordinating with our embassies abroad to ensure the speedy release of information,” the Valte said.

Two hundred ninety eight people died Friday when according to authorities, the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was hit by a Russian-made anti-aircraft missile over eastern Ukraine. The area is controlled by pro-Russia separatists.

American authorities said it is highly likely that the anti-aircraft missile was launched by the separatists being supported by Russia.

Both the Ukrainian government as well as the pro-Russia separatists denied shooting down the Malaysian airliner. (PNA)