Taipei gives P600K more to kin of OFW killed in Taiwan quake


MANILA — Taiwan on Tuesday donated an additional PHP600,000 to the family of Melody Albano Castro, the Filipina caregiver who died during the deadly earthquake that hit Hualien, Taiwan in February.

The donation, handed over to Castro’s husband Jay-R Castro at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Makati, was in addition to the PHP3.2-million financial assistance earlier given by the Taiwanese community.

Of the latest aid, PHP200,000 came from the Taiwan Association Inc. and the remaining PHP400,000 from the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines.

The donation ceremony was attended by TECO Representative Dr. Gary Song-Huann Lin, together with Gilberto Lauengco, vice chairman of Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taiwan, and the donors.

In his speech, Lin said “as a responsible member of the society,” Taiwan is committed to do its utmost in treating foreign workers humanely.

“Today’s donation reflects Taiwanese love and compassion towards foreign workers, including overseas Filipino workers, which totaled to 150,000 in Taiwan,” he added.

Lin also noted that whatever assistance Castro’s husband may need, his office is always open to help.

“We are willing to help in whatever possible way to assist Jay-R to recover from his car accident,” the envoy said.

Also present during the ceremony were Pangasinan Rep. Rose Marie Arenas, and representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, who expressed their gratitude to the Taiwan government and its citizens.

“I have never seen a more dedicated, more loving, more kind government, other than Taiwan government,” Arenas said. “Through MECO and the TECO, the coordination has been so good that we have done so much.”

Castro was one of the victims in the recent 6.4 magnitude earthquake that hit Hualien, Taiwan in February. Rescuers recovered her from the rubble of a collapsed building.

She started to work in Taiwan as a caregiver in 2015. TECO records showed that Castro was covered by Taiwan’s national health insurance and the Act for Protecting Worker of Occupational Accidents.

Based on Taiwan’s relevant regulations on foreign workers and residents, an amount of PHP3.2 million was earlier pooled from the Taiwan government funds, insurance claims and Taiwanese donation as consolation, compensation and compassion for her grieving family.

The MECO has designated its official to handle the processing of relevant procedures of the allocation of fundings.

Normida Albano, Melody’s mother, said while their family is still trying to cope with the loss of their daughter, they are grateful for the continuous help Taiwan government has given to them.

About 150,000 OFWs are in Taiwan, 116,474 of whom are in manufacturing industry, and 31,439 are caregivers in households and institutions. Joyce Ann L. Rocamora/