Family of Filipina who died in Beirut blast pleads for return of her remains

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Pagadian City (CNN Philippines, August 6) — The family of a Filipina worker who died in the massive explosion that rocked Beirut, Lebanon is calling on the government to make sure her remains are sent home.

Ardel Bustamante Maglangit, 43, worked as a household worker in the Middle East country for eight years. She’s from the town of Molave in Zamboanga del Sur.

Authorities said Maglangit was in her employer’s home when the blast ripped through Beirut’s port, killing more than a hundred others and wounding thousands. Among the fatalities is another Filipino domestic worker.

Maglangit’s husband Rogelio said his wife’s tragic death was painful to accept, noting that on the eve of the explosion, they even had a good chat about her plans of coming home.

Terrible news struck the family after waking up Tuesday morning. Maglangit’s daughter, Jehan, waited for the Department of Foreign Affairs’ phone call for confirmation before she told her father about it.

“I saw my daughter crying in our kitchen early morning. I asked her what happened,” Rogelio said in Cebuano.

“She let me watch a video of her mother who was already dead because of the incident,” the husband said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

The blast sent a shockwave that caused massive destruction to property and buildings across a radius of several kilometers. The incident is under investigation, as authorities link it to the large supply of potentially unsecured explosive material that is stored in a warehouse at the city's port.

READ: Shock turns to anger in Beirut over warnings before deadly explosion

Rogelio appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte and the provincial government to facilitate the return of his wife’s remains, something that the Department of Foreign Affairs plans to do over the weekend.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Arriola said they are also working to evacuate other Filipinos who wish to come home. There are over 31,000 Filipinos in the war-torn country, mostly undocumented workers.

The Department of Labor and Employment promised to provide the necessary assistance to the victims' families.

Pagadian City-based stringer Leah Agonoy contributed to this report.