Investigation starts for death of OFW teacher in hotel isolation
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Various agencies are now investigating the death of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) from Talisay City, who died inside SEDA Hotel, a hotel isolation facility in Barangay Apas, Cebu City.
Mercedita Torbeso, 53, returned to Cebu on September 1, 2021, after teaching for six years in Cambodia supposedly to spend her retirement with her family when she was found dead on September 4, 2021, inside her room in the hotel.
The family appealed for an investigation as they believe the medical staff may have lapsed in their monitoring of the isolated OFW causing Mercidita’s condition to be overlooked.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Central Visayas (OWWA-7) told CDN Digital they are now investigating the incident since they are the main agency tasked with assisting OFWs returning from abroad.
SEDA Hotel representatives said in a phone interview that they are cooperating with the investigation.
They said that they have already submitted the incident report and statement to OWWA as part of the investigation.
“An investigation is being currently conducted among agencies, offices, and the hotel involved. We will issue an official statement on this soon,” said OWWA-7 in a text message.
Similarly, the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) is also looking into the incident although they claimed the medical staff of the hotel is from the Cebu City government.
“We are gathering these data and reports on this. I was informed it is due today,” said Doctor Jaime Bernadas, the director of the DOH-7.
Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas told CDN Digital in a phone interview that he has instructed the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) to coordinate with the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for their investigation.
“Akong nakasturya si Ken (son of Mercedita) and ilang gusto raman gyod kay explanation kung unsay nahitabo. Pag-adto nila wala man gud daw sila giatubang sa hotel. So I talked with Councilor Joel Garganera, the EOC in Cebu City on how to handle this. Currently, this is being investigated,” said Gullas.
Gullas said that the Talisay City police will be coordinating with the EOC as well for any progress in the investigation.
The mayor has already provided aid to the Torbeso family in his own capacity. However, he promised that the city government will also help the family whom he has asked to go to the City Hall for this aid.
It is not yet clear if the city government will provide financial aid to the family or help in other means.
Ken Torbeso, the son of the Mercidita, told CDN Digital that they are thankful that the incident will finally be investigated.
“Nalipay jud kaayo me ana kay at least man lang na hatagan jud ug aksyon kining panghitaboa. Ge saysay naku kang Mayor (Gullas) nga ang among tumong ug tuyo nalang ani is for awareness sa tanan, nga unta dili nani mahitabo sa uban nga OFW nga naka quarantine sa bisan asang hotel,” said Ken.
The Talisay City government will await the results of the investigations of the different agencies before taking action. /rcg
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