MANILA, Philippines – Seven Filipino workers injured in the tanker explosion in Riyadh are still confined in hospitals.
“Sa seven na naka-confine, lahat po sila maliban sa isa, ang nasa recovery ward na,” said Vice Consul Redentor Genotiva.
Genotiva said there were 14 Filipinos who were rushed to four hospitals in Riyadh for treatment, but eight have already been discharged.
Among those badly injured is Anthony Ralluseian who was on board a service van on his way to work.
Ralluseian sustained injuries on his neck and spine and has refused to go under the knife.
“Nakipag-ugnayan po ako sa kanyang pamilya sa Pilipinas upang makakuha ng affidavit galing sa kanyang kamag anak, kanyang nanay, na nagbibigay ng permiso na siya ay maoperahan kahit po siya ay tumatanggi,” said Genotiva.
The letter will then be forwarded to the hospital for their consideration.
“Yan pong sulat na yan ay ibibigay natin sa ospital para ma-consider nila kung maari nilang gamitin para maoperahan si Mr. Anthony kahit po tumatanggi siya,” he said.
Ralluseian’s friend said the OFW was probably thinking about the cost of the procedure that’s why he refused the operation.
But Genotiva said that the Saudi Arabian King promised to shoulder all the medical expenses incurred by the victims of the explosion.
“Nagbigay po ng statement ang Saudi government na ang hari po ay nagutos na ang lahat ng gastusin patungkol sa hospitalization nung mga nasugatan ay iso-shoulder po ng Saudi government,” Genotiva said.
The accident last November 1 claimed the lives of 22 people, including a Filipino, Florentino Santiago.
The tanker was driven by Filipino Ruben Kebeng. The Philippine Embassy was only informed of the driver’s identity two days after the accident.
“Nauna po kasing unidentified yung driver ng tumaob na truck noong Nov. 1. Kami po ay nakatanggap ng report na Pilipino daw po yung driver noong Nov. 3 kaya agad po kaming nagpunta sa Criminal Investigation dito sa Riyadh at doon po namin nakumpirma na mayroon nga po silang iniimbistigahan na Pilipino,” Genotiva said.
Up until now, Philippine authorities have yet to see or talk to the Pinoy driver. The embassy already wrote a diplomatic note to the Saudi government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to request that they be allowed to see the Pinoy.
“As of today, hindi pa po tayo nakakatanggap ng sagot doon sa ating formal request,” Genotiva said.
Genotiva said that based on the statements of his colleagues, Kebang drove the truck that was loaded with LNG or Liquefied Natural Gas. He was among the convoy of 4 trucks, three of which were loaded with LNG.
“Si Mr. Kebeng daw po ang lead in that convoy. Di pa natin hawak ang formal investigation. They have confirmed that Mr. Kebeng was the one driving the truck na tumaob,” said Genotiva.
Although they have yet to see the Pinoy driver, Genotiva said they were given the assurance that he is in good health and is detained at the Criminal Investigation Office in Riyadh.
“Pangunahin nating ginagawa ngayon ay makahanap ng oportunidad na siya ay makausap at ma-assess ang kanyang condition. Kasama din po dyan ang pagsiguro na siya ay mabibigyan ng legal representation,” he said. With DZMM