Hope of finding a Filipino woman and her three children were fading six days after they had gone missing when the building they lived in collapsed during the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated Turkey last week.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the woman was married to a Turkish national who was not home when the earthquake struck.
DFA acting Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Eduardo Jose de Vega said the authorities already told the Turkish husband to have “realistic expectations,” given how long they have been missing.
As the Turkish government continues to work on its search-and-rescue operations more than a week after the devastating earthquake, De Vega said some Filipinos are choosing to return to the Philippines
De Vega some 248 Filipinos were in the affected areas, while about 64 of them are already temporarily housed in Ankara.
Of the two Filipino casualties—both married to Turkish nationals—one has been buried while the remains of the other will be repatriated, De Vega said.
De Vega said all Filipinos were accounted for in Syria, although they are also asking for aid.
Meanwhile, the Filipino woman who was rescued after 60 hours under the rubble in Hatay province is “recovering well,” the Philippine Embassy in Turkey said Tuesday.
Juliva Benlingan was working when she was reported missing after the 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit southeastern Turkey on Feb. 6.
Benlingan’s sister, Maribel, reported on Feb. 9 that Juliva was found alive, a day after her employer informed them that she was “left in the building because she’s dead.”
Embassy officials on Tuesday visited Benlingan at a hospital in Adana province.
“She thanks God for a second chance at life and the Embassy for their well-wishes,” the embassy said.
The embassy’s Mersin-based team also provided Benlingan with financial aid and gave tokens of appreciation to her attending doctors and nurses.
As of Feb. 13, at least 64 Filipinos are taking shelter at the Philippine Embassy in Ankara, located over 600 kilometers from the severely-hit southeast area.
The DFA on Tuesday said the Philippines would deploy a six-person contingent to Syria to help Filipinos and others affected by the strong quake.
Last week the Philippines deployed a team of 87 disaster response specialists and health care workers to Turkey.
Also on Tuesday, the House of Representatives donated an additional P10 million in humanitarian aid to thousands of earthquake victims in Turkey.
The donation was made through the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).
The amount was in addition to the $100,000 the House, through Speaker Martin G. Romualdez, turned over to Turkey’s Ambassador to the Philippines Niyazi Evren Akyol on Monday.
The $100,000 (about P5.5 million) came from the Speaker’s Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Initiative, while the P10 million was raised from voluntary contributions from House members.
The House adopted a resolution expressing its utmost compassion and deepest sympathies for the loss of lives and properties brought by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria last Feb. 6.
The chamber adopted House Resolution (HR) 763 and consolidated with three other resolutions during its Tuesday plenary session as Speaker Martin G. Romualdez and the House turned over Monday through the Speaker’s Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Initiative $100,000 financial assistance to quake victims in Turkey.
“Along with the rest of the world, the House of Representatives commiserates with those affected by the recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey and hopes for healing and restoration as they rise from the rubble of this horrifying catastrophe,” the resolution read.
“In responding to the Turkey-Syria earthquake, the Philippines has organized a team of 87 rescue personnel, including military personnel, engineers and health workers, to be deployed to Turkey to help in the search and rescue operations and provide relief assistance to survivors such as medical supplies, blankets and winter clothing,” it added, noting that a copy of the resolution will be given to the Consulate of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Embassy of Turkey in Manila.