MANILA - Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Friday the repatriation of the remains of Filipinos who died in Saudi Arabia will be delayed due to the pending release of documents required to bring them home.
"We regret to announce that the repatriation of the remains of our dear OFWs from Saudi Arabia is being delayed due to the pending release of documentary requirements, and our common desire to strictly adhere to the health protocols in transporting them," Bello said in a statement.
He said the initial deadline on July 4 to bring home the OFWs' remains has been extended until next week.
Bello earlier said Saudi Arabia told the Philippines to bring home the remains of 282 Filipinos there, including 50 who succumbed to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Malacañang has expressed its condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased OFWs.
"Concerned agencies of the government have already been directed to extend assistance to their families," Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said earlier in a statement.
He also said the remains of the 50 OFWs who died due to COVID-19 related illnesses will be buried in Saudi Arabia, while the rest will be brought back to the Philippines.--With a report from Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News