Pinay killed in Yemen wanted to go home
BATANGAS – "I miss her playing the piano." Thus said Rebecca Pueblos, mother of 28-year old Hazel Pueblos, one of the Filipinos killed during a terrorist attack in Yemen.
Rebecca, a mother of three children, could not control her emotions in an interview at their house in Barangay Bugtong, when asked about her youngest daughter Hazel.
“She’s God-fearing, a loving daughter, she always brought laughter to our family and was a very good mother to her only son,” she said in between sobs.
Hazel was one of the 7 Filipino medical workers who were killed in Thursday’s suicide car bomb attack on Yemen’s Defense Ministry complex in Sana’a.
DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said 12 other Filipinos were injured, with one requiring head surgery.
Hernandez said the bomber rammed an explosives-packed car into the ministry, allowing gunmen to launch an assault on the complex.
Based on accounts of survivors, the incident started when the first suicide bomber detonated his explosives at the gates of the ministry complex.
Another suspect was apprehended before he could enter, but the third bomber managed to pass through and detonated his explosives, causing the building to collapse.
“Bakit sya pa? she was just working at their hospital.” Rebecca said. “Siguro nga it’s God’s will, wala namang may gusto sa pangyayari.”
Rebecca said Hazel played the piano during their Saturday church service at the Lipa Adventist Church.
“Sama-sama kaming nagsisimba tuwing Sabado at sya ang aming taga-piano. Iyon ang sobra kong mami-miss," she said.
Hazel was married to Juan Abalos, who also worked as a maintenance personnel at a school in Yemen.
Their son, John Rich "Kiel" Abalos, is two years old and was left under the care of Rebecca.
Hazel, a graduate of nursing in Adventist University of the Philippines in Cavite, has two siblings, Rezel, 40, an optometrist in Lipa City and Zaere Pueblos-Lalas, 38, who lives in Pangasinan.
Rebecca said Hazel was actually planning to return to the Philippines for good to be with her son Kiel.
“Balak nya nalang sana tapusin ang one year sa kanyang 2-year contract bago bumalik dito sa Pilipinas. Ayaw niya ring lumaki ang anak nyang walang kasamang magulang,” she said.
Hazel constantly communicated with her son every weekend through the internet.
Rebecca said they didn't have any premonition on Hazel's death.
“Wala akong naramdaman o ano mang pangitain bago siya namatay. Ang tanging naramdaman ko ay gininaw ako noong gabi ng Huwebes. Hindi ko naman pinansin, basta nagkumot lang ako, iyon pala patay na sya noong mga oras na iyon."
Hazel’s brother Rezel also had no premonition on her sister’s death. “Nagulat lang ako sa pamangkin kong si Kiel (son of Hazel) noong nag-hihintay ako ng tawag mula sa bayaw kong si Juan for confirmation on Hazel’s condition."
Rezel said Kiel, who was unaware of what happened to her mother, said "wala na si mommy, wala na" three times while he was playing Thursday night.
“That was the time that I surrendered and accepted the whole truth, baka binulungan na ni Hazel ang kanyang anak na tanggapin na namin ang malungkot na pangyayari,” Rezel said.
He said he received the bad news from Juan's mother Thursday night and kept it from himself until the next day.
“Hindi ko muna sinabi kay Mama kasi gabi na rin noon at alam kong hindi na sya makakatulog sa kaiisip. Sinabi ko na lang ang balita the next day bago niya pa malaman sa ibang tao,” Rezel said.
Rezel said his wife, who lives in Mania, is coordinating with the agency officials, the POEA, and OWWA for the repatriation of Hazel’s remains.
“Maayos naman ang ginagawang pagtulong sa amin ng gobyerno. Sabi sa amin, baka daw by Friday (next week) ay maiuwi na ang bangkay ni Hazel,” Rezel said.
Hazel’s remains will be brought to the Lipa Adventist for a 3-night wake and will be buried at Eternal Gardens in Lipa City.
Hazel was among 40 Filipino workers at the hospital inside the complex when the attack happened. There are around 1,000 Filipino workers in Yemen.
Philippine Honorary Consul in Yemen Mohammad Al-Jamal and Filipino community leader Esther Galahan are visiting hospitals to check if there are other Filipino victims.