Tent city residents mourn death of fellow OFW
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – A fellow undocumented worker staying at the Tent City recalled the last few minutes of a kababayan who died due to asthma attack on the night of October 6.
Lerma Saldo said she was asleep when she heard Louie Bandojo Belita shout for help.
"Ang sabi niya 'Manay! Manay!' Yung pangalawa niya, bumangon ako. Nadatnan ko po siya na naka-nebulizer," Saldo said.
The OFW wanted her to bring him to a hospital but died even before the ambulance arrived.
"Pumunta po ako sa mga kalalakihan para humingi ng tulong at tumawag ng ambulansya. Balik-balik habang hintay yung ambulansya, hanggang di na po kaya, nawalan na po siya ng hininga. Nung dumating ang paramedics, nung tinanong ko sila, sabi nila 15 minutes na daw, wala na," Saldo recalled.
The 41-year-old OFW first experienced an asthma attack three months ago. He recovered after he was rushed to the Dr. Erfan Bagedo Hospital.
Belita chose to stay at the tent city despite the extreme weather condition and unsafe accommodation. He hoped to be the next lucky OFW who would be given an exit visa before the November 3 amnesty period ends.
According to friends whom he met at the tent city, Belita was described as a helpful person who always put the interest of others before his own.
"Matulungin siya. He is heading the campers to solicit food and other needs doon sa tent city. Inuuna ang iba kaysa sa sarili. But the camp he is living in is not suitable for asthmatic people like him. Mainit, madumi at siksikan," said ABS-CBN Middle East correspondent Charles Tabbu who assisted Belista to the hospital during his first asthma attack.
The tent city in Jeddah was put up in April 2013 where undocumented OFWs stay while demanding assistance for their immediate repatriation from the Philippine government.
"Syempre nalulungkot kami sa pagkawala nya, matulungin sya, basta may medical mission, andyan lagi sya," said another fellow camper, Vilma Aviles.
The death of Belista further worried Filipinos staying inside the tent city. They hope that help will continue to pour in for sick people, particularly children, who need medical care.
"Ipagpatuloy ninyo po sana ang pagtulong sa amin dahil hindi lang po si Louie, maaring may mga bata, madami po lahat-lahat po nakakaramdam na ng hirap. Sana wala na po susunod katulad ng nangyari kay Louie," said Saldo.
They claimed that their situation worsens each day at the tent city, especially for the elderly and children.
"Wala po kaming tubig. Walang pagkain. Wala pong gamot at marami na po ang nagkakasakit dito," said Justiniano Felias Jr.
According to the Philippine Consulate, over a thousand undocumented OFWs have been repatriated since the start of the crackdown on illegal workers in the kingdom.
"Wag ho tayo mawawalan ng pag-asa kahit pa lumampas ang deadline ay patuloy po kaming tutulong sa inyo at susubukan po namin hanggang sa abot ng aming makakaya na kayo po ay makakauwi," Consul General Uriel Garibay said.