Remains of Filipino job seeker stabbed dead in Iran due in Manila

August 10, 2010 10:45 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Aug. 9 — Twenty-four-year-old Mark Lloyd Carmen’s dream of getting a job in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had turned into a nightmare when he was killed in the nearby Iranian island of Kish, and he was due back Monday in Manila — a corpse and a dead hope for his family.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) paid for the repatriation of his remains under its Assistance to Nationals (ATN) Fund and sponsored the accommodation of two relatives who identified and claimed his body from a Kish mortuary, the Philippine embassy in Tehran's Mariano Dumia reported.

According to DFA, Carmen was stabbed to death during a fight with a man from Sudan in Kish, a difficult-to-access border town with Dubai. DFA did not divulge much details about the dead man nor when the killing occurred and how the corpse landed in the mortuary. It noted that since Carmen was from Taguig City, Rep. Dante Tinga also extended help.

The Sudanese is apparently in the custody of Iranian authorities and the embassy promised to bring the unnamed foreigner to justice.

Both victim and killer were apparently in the island waiting for their work visas to the UAE, a procedure long known to hard-pressed job seekers not only from the Philippines, but also from the rest of Asia and the Africas.

Such job seekers would normally enter the UAE as tourists, have themselves placed for jobs through contacts, then depart with a promise of a contract. They fly to Kish to wait out the approval of a work visa — which could take from between a week to forever.

When the waiting becomes unbearable or lonely and food or money is running out, arguments and fatal fights ensue among the refugees -– at least 500 at any one time of Filipinos alone.

But, as it turned out, the more tragic news is the accidental discovery that “remains of other Filipinos” were in the same mortuary where Carmen was kept until it was claimed by his relatives after their arrival in Tehran on July 27.

It was when the relatives were brought to the mortuary to identify and claim Carmen’s body that it was known that there were more Filipino remains there waiting to be claimed.

DFA did not explain why it did not follow up on the supposed request a month ago of Consul General Rosario Lemque with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to verify information of supposed remains of other Filipinos in Kish Island.

DFA merely said that it had not yet received a reply, but noted that if the remains were confirmed to be those of Filipinos, they would be repatriated with government assistance.

DFA clarified that it assisted Carmen even if he was undocumented since that is allowed under the law creating the ATN Fund — particularly when the employer or recruitment agency refused to shoulder the expenses.

But it also said that since the ATN Fund is limited and only up to the extent of the allotment given to the DFA, the repatriated Filipino worker or his next-of-kin is asked to reimbursed when they are able to.

The reimbursed amount is then used to assist other OFWs in distress, notably those facing death penalty convictions, in repatriations, funding of halfway and resource housing, payment of basic necessities, medical expenses, immigration and visa fees, and overstaying penalties, jail visitations; translation services; and other financial assistance. (PNA)

scs/GJB

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