Pope Francis mourned death of Yolanda aid worker Kristel Mae Padasa Image Credit: Facebook

Manila: The labour department has extended assistance to overseas Filipino worker whose daughter died in an accident during the visit of Pope Francis in central Philippines on Saturday, a senior official said on Tuesday.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will extend psycho-social counselling to Judy Padasa who has been working in Hong Kong for 19 years as a domestic helper, Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

Padasa’s daughter Kristel Mae, 26, died instantly when a scaffolding fell on her head in a makeshift stage where Pope Francis celebrated Mass last Saturday. The stage was erected near the Daniel Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City. A storm cut short the pope’s visit there.

Government officials will also offer job referrals to the elder Padasa in case she decides to work in Hong Kong again, said Baldoz

They will also offer her financial literacy training programme and business loan in case she opts to be an entrepreneur in the Philippines, Baldoz said.

In cooperation with the Land Bank and Development Bank of the Philippines, OWWA has a Peso 2 billion (Dh166.6 million) loan facility to assist beleaguered OFWs, said Baldoz.

The labour department and OWWA will also offer Padasa livelihood kit and livelihood grant under the government’s programme called Come Back Philippines, Return to Work Philippines, said Baldoz.

Last Monday, a C-130 cargo plane brought the body of the young Padasa (from Tacloban) to the cargo section of the Villamor Airbase in suburban Pasay City Cebu, said Philippine Air Force spokesman Lt. Col Enrico Canaya,

Pope Francis prayed for the young Padasa during a homily in an open air mass at Manila’s Luneta Park and during a meeting with young people at the Pontifical University of Santos Tomas, both of which occurred on Sunday.

Padasa was a volunteer worker of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) which has development projects in southern Philippines’ Bukidnon, Misami Oriental, and Palawan; Manila’s Smokey Mountain; and Philippines’ Tacloban City.

A psychology graduate of the Adamson University, she was once a supervisor in a call centre prior to her stint at CRS.

There are 10 million OFWs based worldwide. The government’s advocacy is to give them special assistance.

The annual remittances of OFWs, expected to reach $26.5 billion by end of 2014, help keep the economy afloat.