DOLE assures aid to kin of 2 OFWs killed in UAE restaurant blast

MANILA – The government has assured financial assistance and other benefits to the families of the two overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were killed in a gas explosion at a restaurant in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Monday.

In a statement on Wednesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III assured that the families of the victims, Clark Bacud Gasis and Merriner Goc-ong Bertoces, will each receive PHP120,000 bereavement assistance.

“They will also get insurance benefits if they are qualified members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA),” he said.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Abu Dhabi reported that a total of 10 Filipinos, including two children, figured in the explosion reportedly caused by a gas leak inside a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant along Airport Road on August 31.

The explosion instantly killed Gasis, 39, an electrical draftsman from Surigao del Sur, and Bertoces, 26, an employee at the restaurant, from Negros Oriental.

Also, Bello added that OWWA would be ready to provide additional aid allowed by law to the families of the victims.

“We will extend to them all the support the government can provide,” he said.

The blast also injured eight other Filipinos. Six of them were immediately taken to the Sheik Khalifa Medical Center (SKMC) for treatment.

Five of the injured have already been discharged while the other one identified as Rodel Paclibar, also a KFC-Abu Dhabi staff member, remains at the hospital for further observation.

A total of 28 persons including other nationals were involved in the deadly blast, reports said.

Meanwhile, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) urged the people to continue to pray for all OFWs.

“We just honor our living heroes last August 31, they are our OFWs and the Medical front liners. Now we lost two OFWs in line of their works. We see the difficulties and dangers they are into and daily undergoing. So, the more we have to pray for them, appreciate their sacrifices and services, to protect themselves,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos, vice chairman of the CBCP-ECMI in a statement.

At the same time, he offered prayers for the victims and their families.

“We, at CBCP-ECMI, commend their souls to God’s mercy and we are praying for strength of their families to hold on to God and rise up from this tragic event,” the Catholic prelate added.

Santos also lauded Filipino officials in the host country for the help extended to the victims and their families.

“We are also grateful for help and assistance rendered by our Philippine embassy officials to our two OFWs and their families. Let us always pray for our OFWs and do always what is best for them,” he said. (PNA)

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Birth rate in PH down by 6 percent in 2018: PSA | ABS-CBN News

MANILA – About 190 babies were born per hour, or approximately 3 babies were born per minute in 2018, a decreased trend in the last 6 years, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.

PSA said there were a total of 1,668,120 live births registered in the country in 2018, or around 4,570 babies born daily. This is equivalent to a crude birth rate of 15.8 or 16 births per thousand of population.

The 2018 data showed a decreasing trend in the last 6 years, from 1,790,367 live births in 2012 to 1,668,120 live births in 2018. This accounts for a 6.8 percent drop in the number of registered live births since 2012.

PSA also showed more males were born than females. Of the total live births in 2018, 870,832 or 52.2 percent were male, while 797,288 or 47.8 percent were female. This resulted to a sex ratio at birth of 109 males per 100 females.

More than half of all live births in 2018 were in Luzon at 58.4 percent, followed by Mindanao at 23 percent and Visayas at 18.5 percent.

Among the regions, the National Capital Region recorded the highest number of birth occurrences at 14.3 percent, followed by Calabarzon at 13.8 percent and Central Luzon at 11.3 percent.

According to PSA, more babies were born outside the usual residence of the mother, which may be due to better health care facilities and services in the receiving region.

In 2018, most of the births occurred in September, with a total of 156,820 births or 9.4 percent of the total. This was followed by October at 9.3 percent, November at 8.9 percent and December at 8.8 percent.

The data also showed the least number of births in 2018 was in February, with only 113,912 births or 6.8 percent of the total live births.

Of the total number of births, 94.3 percent, or 9 out of 10 births, were attended by health professionals, either by a physician, a midwife or a nurse. 

Among all the regions in the Philippines, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) showed a very low number of medically attended births, with almost half of the births in the region attended by traditional birth attendants, or hilot.

According to PSA, more than half, or 54.3 percent (906,106) of the total live births in 2018 were born out of wedlock. Calabarzon, NCR and Central Luzon recorded the highest number of babies born out of wedlock, while ARMM had the most number of legitimate births.

Majority of the babies were also born to mothers aged 20 to 24, and fathers aged 25 to 29. There were also more babies born to adolescent mothers (aged 19 below) than those sired by adolescent fathers.

The PSA have yet to release the full birth data for 2019, but it has recorded a total of 728,157 births from January to June of last year.

The PSA released the 2018 birth data on its official website on December 27, 2019.

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