Press Release
July 5, 2009

Stewardess' family writes Villar for help

SEN. Manny Villar asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to render prompt and continuing assistance to the family of a missing Filipina flight attendant who was on board the ill-fated Yemeni jet which crashed into the Indian Ocean recently.

At the same time, the Nacionalista Party president also emphasized the need to exercise caution in rendering and transmitting reports on such incidents.

Villar made the call following a distress letter from the mother of the stewardess, Camille Lou Castillo Libron, 26, who was the lone Filipino in the 11-man crew of Yemenia Airlines Airbus 310 which carried 153 people on a flight from Yemen to the Comoros Islands.

In her handwritten letter to the Nacionalista Party president, Mrs. Lucia Libron said, "According to (reports), the Pinay crew was killed in the Yemeni plane crash. But the Yemenia Airline cannot confirm anything regarding the status of my daughter as survivor, fatality or missing. Please help me find my daughter and bring her back home."

Mrs. Libron also stressed that her daughter was single, lamenting reports about her supposed Yemeni husband. "This is a dishonor to my daughter," the mother said.

The flight attendant, who had worked for Yemenia Airlines for three years, was scheduled to come home on July 5 after renewing her passport which delayed her trip earlier set on June 22. She was in the Philippines in January for a vacation, Mrs. Libron said.

"This is a trying time for Mrs. Libron and her family, and they should receive due support and assistance as we seek for answers," Villar said.

The Airbus crew was made up of six Yemenis, including the pilot, two Moroccans, one Indonesian, one Ethiopian and Libron.

It was flying the last leg of a journey from Paris and Marseilles to Comoros via Yemen. Most of the passengers were from Comoros and returning from Paris.

The Comoros is an archipelago of three main islands situated about 2,900 kilometers south of Yemen, between Africa's southeastern coast and the island of Madagascar.

Gen. Bruno de Bourdoncle de Saint-Salvy, senior commander for French forces in the southern Indian Ocean, said the Airbus 310 crashed into deep waters about 14.5 kilometers north of the Comoran coast and 34 kilometers from the Moroni airport.

The Yemeni plane was the second Airbus to crash into the sea recently. An Air France Airbus A330-200 carrying 228 people crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on May 31, as it flew from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

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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