Family of slain caregiver urges gov’t to bring her home
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines —The family of the caregiver from Negros Occidental who was killed by Hamas militants in Israel is asking the government to help them bring her body home so they could see her one last time, and bury her.
The family of Loreta Alacre, however, was given the option to have Loreta’s body cremated in Israel and have her ashes shipped to Cadiz, Negros Occidental.
This offer was offered by the Philippine Embassy.
An option which Loreta’s sister, Anabella, declined the offer because the family wanted to see her one more time.
“We want to bring her back to Cadiz and bury her in Barangay Caduha-an,” she told the Inquirer in a phone interview on Friday.
Anabella said the family was aware that it may take longer for her remains to be brought home because of the fighting in Israel following the attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7.
Not at festival
Loreta, 49, was the third Filipino fatality in Israel, as of the Philippine government’s updates over the weekend.
She was earlier reported to be among the revelers at the Tribe of Nova Music Festival near Gaza’s border which Hamas militants turned into a massacre, killing some 250 people.
But according to another sister, Ailen, Loreta did not go to that festival.
Responding to questions the Inquirer sent via Messenger, Ailen, who works in Kuwait, said Loreta spent her day off at her boarding house on Oct. 6.
She was scheduled to return to her employer the next day, accompanied by her boyfriend, a Chinese national, when they ran into an attack by Hamas and were killed.
Ailen did not say where the attack took place.
Anabella began looking for Loreta upon learning of the Hamas attacks and sent a photo of her to the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, which confirmed on Oct. 12 that her body had been found.
Caregiver for 16 years
Loreta had worked as a caregiver in Israel for 16 years. She was supposed to return home on Dec. 13 to celebrate her 50th birthday. It would have been her first visit since 2015, her last homecoming. Her family informed Loreta’s employer Noam Solomon about her death, although he had helped the family search for her.
In an earlier Facebook post, he said about Loreta: “Please help find my Lorie. There is no knowledge at all about where my dear and beloved Lori is.”
Solomon described her as a dedicated caregiver in the six years she worked for him after earlier caring for his grandmother.
Anabella described Loreta, the sixth of eight siblings, as kind, generous, and helpful.
“She was sending her nephews and nieces to school and was helping all of her siblings with various needs,” Anabella said.
“Loreta also paid for hospital bills, birthdays, weddings, baptisms and funerals of family members,” she added.
Aid to the family
Cadiz City Mayor Salvador Escalante said: “The Cadiz city government is willing to assist the Alacre family in their moment of grief.”
Anabella said the mayor, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Bacolod Rep. Greg Gastaya, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration assured the Alacre family of their help.
Speaker Martin Romualdez himself has pledged P500,000 as financial aid to the family.
Romualdez and his wife, Tingog Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, had earlier pledged to donate P500,000 each to the families of the first two reported fatalities, Angelyn Peralta Aguirre and Paul Vincent Castelvi.
In a statement on Saturday, the Speaker also said his chamber is working closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs, DMW and other agencies to bring home the Filipino workers in Israel and Gaza.
“I am confident in the preparedness of our Armed Forces, with their C-130 aircraft at the ready to transport and bring our OFWs safely back home,” the Speaker said.
“Mercy flights need not land directly in Israel, as alternative locations like Egypt or Jordan could be considered for the safety and convenience of OFWs,” he added.
—WITH A REPORT FROM JULIE M. AURELIO
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