Press Release
June 29, 2009

OFW's leg severed by elevator crash in Dammam

An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) is still in pain after losing his leg in a work-related accident in Dammam, Saudi Arabia where an elevator fell on him recently, Sen. Manny Villar said.

Apolonio "Poly" de Castro Dimaculangan, 35, an electronics and mechanical technician from Batangas, told the office of Villar yesterday in an overseas call that he was repairing the company elevator when it suddenly crashed on him, amputating his right leg instantly on May 23.

"I was brought to the hospital where the doctors saw that what remained attached to my body was merely the flesh of my leg and no more," the OFW recounted.

Dimaculangan was confined at the Al-Mouwasat Hospital for two weeks due to the accident and now has to visit it every two days for wound dressing. He expects to have an artificial leg for mobility and normalcy.

Although the OFW is covered by insurance and continues to receive his salary, Villar is asking the Philippine Overseas Labor Office to attend to Dimaculangan. The Nacionalista Party president also asked the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to ensure that the migrant worker promptly gets his benefits, including livelihood assistance.

"Makirot pa rin, hindi ako makatulog (It is still painful, I cannot sleep), the OFW said, "Pag-uwi ko ng Pilipinas, mahirap ang sitwasyon ko (When I return to the Philippines, my situation will be difficult)."

Dimaculangan likewise told Villar's office that he got married on Feb. 14 in Cavite and asked his wife to quit her job, not expecting a forthcoming accident.

Two weeks after the marriage, he returned to Saudi Arabia to resume work for a bread-making company, his employer since Nov. 27, 2005.

Prior to his nearly four-year stint in Dammam, Dimaculangan had worked for 10 years as a technician in the Philippines. He took up a two-year electronics course in Cebu.

Harsh conditions faced by OFWs earlier pushed the senator to actively press for the application of the "no-fault insurance system" for OFWs, a form of indemnity plan in which anyone injured in an accident or misfortune receives direct payment from the company that has insured them, eliminating the need for victims to establish another's liability or fault through a civil case.

Villar has filed Senate Bill 3040 or the "Overseas Contract Workers Insurance Act" which seeks compulsory insurance for all OFWs in addition to benefits being provided by OWWA.

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