Caregiver dies of cardiac arrest; consulate says financial help on the way

Lorna Sun, 65

Lorna Sun, 65

Last March 20, Lorna Sun, a 65-year old caregiver from Bacolod province died of cardiac arrest at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.

As the breadwinner of the family, Lorna was the only one from her family who was able to come to New York. She had been living and working in the city for 16 years. Her last employment was as a health home aide to an elderly couple for whom she worked 24/7, and only got $900 a week.

Friends of Lorna believed that this kind of working condition also took its toll on her since she was also not one to speak out much about her problems.

On March 21, the day after Lorna died, Angela Lopez, a friend who has been taking care of the paperwork and who was almost like a daughter to the deceased, said that she asked the Philippine Consulate in New York for assistance immediately.

She was told that they cannot shoulder the financial support because it is expensive to ship the remains, and was advised to just cremate the body. She was told to follow up and come back after a week.

When reached by The FilAm, the Philippine Consulate disputed such claims.

In a statement, Consul Felipe Carino said the consulate has “requested the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for financial assistance to help cover Lorna’s funeral expenses amounting to almost $2,000.”

“We are confident in securing approval for financial assistance from DFA in a timely manner,” he said.

Carino further stated that the consulate has been in touch with Lorna’s family in the Philippines, in particular with her husband John Vic Sun.

“Based on our conversation with them, they freely consented and agreed to cremation,” he said. A copy of the ‘authority to cremate’ signed by the husband, was officially received by the consulate this week. This will be given to the funeral parlor, said Carino.

Philippine Consulate building: Husband agreed to the cremation

Philippine Consulate building: Husband agreed to the cremation

Philippine Forum-Kabalikat Domestic Workers, along with other organizations, will be holding a picket in front of the consulate on Fifth Avenue, on Monday, March 31 at 5 p.m., to demand quicker and “more timely” action in addressing support for Lorna and other cases in the future.

The picket would also serve as commemoration of the 19th year since Flor Contemplacion, a Filipina domestic worker in Singapore, who was executed in 1995 on charges of murder. Her death crystallized sentiments of Filipinos around the world that the Philippine Government did not do enough to provide legal assistance and protect their overseas workers who are widely hailed as “modern-day heroes.”

“The picket is not just for Aling Lorna but for all migrant workers who are forced to leave our homeland and who go through these ordeals in places far away from their families. We don’t want any more of our kababayans going home in caskets or urns as a consequence of this forced migration,” said Lorena Sanchez-McRae, lead coordinator for Philippine Forum’s Kabalikat Domestic Workers Support Network.

Lorena recounted the cases of domestic workers Fely Garcia in 2007 and Putli Anjali in 2008, who died and whose cases were also brought to the attention of the Philippine Consulate.

“We had to assert our rights and we really fought for Ate Fely and Putli’s remains to be repatriated because those are the wishes of their families. In respect to the families of the migrant workers who died, the Philippine government should at least give the courtesy to facilitate the repatriation of their people’s remains, cremated or not, during these times, especially when their constituents have no families living abroad with them. We must still always remind the government of its responsibility,” she said.

Lorna’s remains were on view until March 29 at Majestic Funeral Services in Hollis, Queens.

For more information about the rally, contact Philippine Forum at or call 646-578-7390.

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  1. […] Caregiver dies of cardiac arrest; consulate says financial help on the way […]

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