Employer to fly kin of Pinoys in oil rig blast

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Nov 20 2012 05:52 PM | Updated as of Nov 21 2012 01:52 AM

BATON ROUGE, LA – The Philippine Embassy is working closely with the employer of Filipinos injured in the explosion at an offshore oil production platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

The embassy and the Black Elk Energy are working to expedite the paperwork and US visa of immediate family members of the victims.

The immediate family members of the remaining victims are being flown to Louisiana to be with their loved ones in these trying times, all expenses paid by the employer.

“Those who are in the Philippines will have to work out the appropriate visas. We've asked the US Embassy Manila to facilitate and they have assured us that they will do everything possible to do that,” said Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr.

Consul Orontes Castro of the Philippine Consulate in Chicago told Balitang America that the hospital bills are currently covered by insurance.

Castro also confirmed that the Filipino victims will continue to receive their full monthly salary until their existing contract expires -- whether they're in the US recuperating or otherwise repatriated to the Philippines.

“What I have been told by the Grand Isle, they want to do what is right, which is very reassuring, so we have to work out what are those individual benefits that would be extended to them,” Cuisia said.

Among the nine overseas Filipino workers who figured in the incident last Friday, one is confirmed dead, 4 are still confined at the hospital, one still missing and three were jolted by the incident but are now in safe conditions.

Elroy Corporal, 42, was found dead in waters near the accident site Saturday night.

Corporal's remains are now in New Orleans and is in the process of repatriation to Iligan City in the Philippines, according to Cuisia.

“We're working on the repatriation of the remains to the Philippines. If the wife is not able to come here, then the remains will be repatriated right away. But if she's able to come, then they will wait until she gets here,” he said.

Among the four OFWs now being treated for major burns at the Baton Rouge General Medical Center in Louisiana, two are still in critical condition and one in serious condition.

Fifty-year-old Wilberto Ilagan is now conscious and in fair condition.

“When I asked for his thoughts for the work today, he stated and I quote, tell my countrymen to pray for us and our quick recovery and that our caregivers are always with us, and they're very kind to us, end quote...," said Dr. Flip Roberts.

“Rest assured that this hospital is the best in the nation when it comes down to burn victims and so you'll get quality care and care that is second to none and the city of Baton Rouge and Parish stand ready to provide for whatever assistance you need,” said Kip Holden, mayor of Baton Rouge.