MANILA, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Ten Filipino workers were killed in a civilian helicopter crash in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan on Sunday, the Philippine government said on Tuesday.
"Their employer, a US-based construction firm, confirmed to the (Philippine) Department of Foreign Affairs that the Filipino workers were onboard the aircraft which malfunctioned during takeoff and plunged to the ground," the government agency said in a statement, without giving the name of the company.
However, earlier reports said that the helicopter was an aircraft under contract, belonging to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in the war-torn country.
The helicopter was reported to be carrying three crew members and 17 passengers of different nationalities. Sixteen of the passengers, including the Filipinos, were killed in the crash.
A company official said the families and relatives of the Filipino victims are currently being contacted while the repatriation of the remains is being arranged, according to the foreign affairs department.
The company is also working on the processing of the Filipino workers' insurance and other benefits, it added.
The Philippine government has dispatched a team from the Philippine Embassy in Islamabad to coordinate with local authorities for the repatriation. Manila has no embassy in Afghanistan.
The Philippine government has a long-standing ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Afghanistan due to security concerns. Aside from Afghanistan, the Philippines also prohibits its nationals from working in Nigeria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan.
The Philippines is one of the largest labor exporters in the world. Currently, more than 8 million Filipinos, or 10 percent of the country's population, are working overseas, whose remittances back to their families act as a cornerstone of the Philippines' national economy.
Despite the work ban, many Filipinos would still work at military bases in Afghanistan, attracted by higher salaries.
In March, a Filipino carpenter was killed after being hit by rocket fire outside the Kandahar Air Base, a key NATO airbase and the second biggest military installation in Afghanistan.
16 civilians killed in chopper in S Afghanistan:
KABUL, July 19 (Xinhua)-- Over a dozen people, all of them
civilians, were killed as a helicopter of the NATO-led International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) crashed in south Afghanistan Sunday, a press release of
the alliance said.
"The International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) can
confirm that 16 civilians have been killed in the helicopter that crashed
earlier today in Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan," the press release
added. Full story