Four months after she died in Riyadh, my sister in law, a former nurse in a Saudi government hospital, is finally home in our province in Negros Occ. Welcome home, Gemma. Lois, their only child, 13 yo, with her in this photo which I took from Gemma's fb wall.
She should have been brought home last August 17 via Cathay Pacific (Riyadh-HK-Manila). But about one or two days before she would be transported, Cathay demanded a new requirement before they would transport Gemma. First they demanded an "import permit" from Manila. When I wrote to them what is that “import permit” and what agency in Manila it should come from, they corrected it to "embalmer's certificate" from Saudi, etc. My brother wrote to the travel agency arranged by the Saudi hospital, to look for another airline that would not be too bureaucratic.
So the travel agency arranged for a new airline. Saudia Air took her from Riyadh to Manila direct, arrived mid-day today, then PAL for Manila-Bacolod. The plane landed in Silay-Bacolod airport before 6pm, the body was brought to Rolling Hills funeral park in Bacolod, short mass, then she was buried. Now she is back in the province where she was born and grew up.
Her arrival at Manila airport today was reported in TV Patrol of ABS-CBN, and was reported online.
Report from Atom Araullo, ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 09/04/2014 2:51 PM | Updated as of 09/04/2014 2:51 PM
MANILA – The remains of a Filipina nurse who died from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus in Saudi Arabia arrived in Manila on Thursday morning.
The body of Gemma Barrilea Oplas arrived at the cargo section of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 past 10 a.m. It was immediately brought to Bacolod….
Special thanks again to the DFA. Riyadh PH Embassy coordinated with Saudi MOH and the hospital to finally bring her back.
Problem 1, bringing home the remains, is solved.
Problem 2, sending the benefits that the hospital would give to Gemma's family (her siblings included, based on Saudi laws and culture). This will take several weeks more...
I checked the ABS-CBN facebook page for this report, there were many comments. Mostly positive and notes of condolence, but there are some idiots who wrote negatively about Gemma, or about health OFWs in Saudi in general. Ignoring the idiots, here are some comments, mainly from Gemma’s friends:
Jan Jefri: FYI po, colleague ko po ung nsa news.. she died here in Riyadh kaso need to keep for 2-3 months freezed para macontain ung virus.. SOP po yan ng Ministry of Health dto s KSA. Pinoy nurses are highly competitive when it comes to giving nursing care to patients regardless of the disease that a patient have. Direct contact na kulang nlng mahalikan at mayakap ang mga pasyente. We took care our patients as our own family.. Yan ang risk sa profession na pinile nmin.. All we need is your prayers to all nurses all over the world.
Ang work po nmin as nurse dto is from the dirtiest to clean work..meaning all in one po.. package ika nga!!! At dyan competent mga pinoy nurses.. a million salute to you Ate Gemma, may your soul rest in peace. Youre a HERO!!!
..and another thing, if you're working as ER nurse in any facility hndi mo alam kung anong meron ang bawat pasyente na pumapasok sa unit..Likewise, madaming ntatamaan ng MERScOV na asymptomatic pero positive pala s test.. so hindi mo rin tlaga masabi.. need tlga to boost immunity para sa mga virus na yan and effective handwashing.. especially now that ebola is around. MERS and EBOLA will go hand and hand!!! Fight fight fight fellow nurses!!!
Oo nga, instead na magsalita ng hndi maganda..better to pray for everyone..wala nman may gusto na madapuhan ng deadly virus na yan..
Rest in peace ate gemma.. ur memories will remain in our hearts.. a million salute to you!!!
Richel Amante Tayros: Rest in peace Gemma kapitbahay ko yan.at yung mga bad comments ng iba na kung ano anung speculation pwede kung wala kayong alam hwag na lng magsalita ng masama.hindi nyo kilala yung tao pra husgahan.
Yoj Arnaldo: Sa mga may negative comment jan, gemma took care of her colleague na may mers.nahawa sya and namatay ahead.d pa nga alam ng nkahawa sa kanya na patay na sya.gemma is a friend of my friend.imbes magcomment ng pangit,kesyo ganito o ganyan, why cant u just pray for her soul...
Danilyn Pinote: tama na,hwg naman kau masyado putak ng putak.saludo ako sa kanya. nagbuwis sya ng buhay nya para sa ibang tao.ginampanan lang nya ang trabaho nya. condolence po
Roxane Septimo Romias: She a Person withbeautiful heart kahit nung nakalatay sya pneumonia pa lang findings in ask pa nxa ako i doble check ung namatay ng mers cove kasi kaibigan nya meron
Myrz Flores: Totoo na mers cov yun..nag alalaga siya ng kaibigan na may mers then siya pa yung namtay..yung inalagaan niya buhay at stabke na sa ngaun.kakalungkot naman talaga at ngaun lang siya nakauwi.
Ross-ana Hulleza Toroy: I would like to express my sincere condolence to the family of my friend gemma oplas.rest in peace my dear friend.----------
MERS CoV and OFWs May 08, 2014
MERS-CoV and OFWs, Part 2, August 26, 2014