More Pinoys in Afghan plane crash?

PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — VICE President and Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment chairman Noli De Castro yesterday ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs to verify reports that three Filipino workers remained confined in a hospital while two others were missing following the helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

The information was relayed to De Castro by Eduardo Najera, father of one of the casualties of the crash, whose remains are still in Kabul.

“We learned from Mr. Najera that the three overseas Filipino workers in the hospital have not been visited yet by officials from our embassy in Islamabad. I immediately asked Undersecretary Esteban Conejos to ask our embassy officials in Pakistan to verify this information,” he said.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration identified the 10 fatalities as Marvin Najera, Ely Cariño, Manolito Hornilla, Leopoldo Jimenez, Ernesto De Vega, Mark Joseph Mariano, Celso Caralde, Rene D. Taboclaon, Recardo E. Vallejos and Noli M. Visda.

De Castro went to the OWWA office yesterday to meet with the victims’ families.

He promised the immediate repatriation of the victims’ bodies and vowed to go after the recruiters who illegally deployed the OFWs.

The Vice President said that TFAIR is now conducting its own investigation of how the OFWs entered Afghanistan as illegal workers.

“We are now talking to the victims’ families, getting information on the people who facilitated their relatives’ deployment to Afghanistan. We are also coordinating with POEA regarding details on the recruiters’ operation,” he added.

He reiterated that the government has a standing deployment ban on Afghanistan.

Last July 14, the TFAIR offloaded 13 prospective OFWs before they can fly to Afghanistan where they were supposed to work in Kandahar Airfield.

The workers were reportedly promised $1,300 monthly salary.