Family holds wake for Filipina quake victim in Turkey
LUCENA CITY — The remains of one of the Filipino victims of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Turkey on Feb. 6 now lie in their house here and will be buried on Saturday, Feb. 18.
“Thank God. Wilma has returned home,” William Abulad, 67, Wilma Tezcan’s father, said in a phone interview Friday (Feb. 17) from their house in Barangay Ilayang Dupayonn in the outskirts of the city.
Abulad said Wilma’s remains arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport early Thursday in the company of Nicole, Wilma’s daughter with her estranged husband in the Philippines.
The body was sent straight to a local funeral home here to prepare for the wake and burial in a private cemetery in neighboring Tayabas City on Saturday.
“We sealed her casket to avoid any untoward incidents. Her being here is enough for the family,” Abulad said.
The casket was airtight and waterproof in order to protect her body from decomposition.
However, the sealed casket still has the traditional glass window for the viewing of her face.
Abulad said Wilma’s Turkish husband, Gurol, also arrived in the country yesterday afternoon after he was able to secure a new passport. His travel document, which was in Wilma’s possession, got lost during the earthquake.
Abulad thanked the government and those who have been continuously helping them in facing the tragedy.
Lucena Mayor Mark Alcala shouldered the cost of transporting the remains from the airport to this city.
Quezon Governor Angelina Tan also gave cash assistance to the family, Abulad said.
Tan told journalists who accompanied Abulad to her office on Thursday that the provincial government has a program for overseas contract workers from the province.
Tan posted on her Facebook: “Our deepest prayers for the comfort of her family and we extend our sympathy to everyone who lost their loved one to this tragic earthquake”.
Abulad appealed for more Good Samaritans to help them cope with the tragedy.
“We lost the family’s main breadwinner. I only secured a loan for the initial payment to the private cemetery,” he said.
An overseas contract worker, Wilma was in her ninth year in Turkey. She was working as a child caretaker for a Turkish family in Istanbul.
She married Gurol, who works in the food delivery business, in a Muslim wedding rite in Turkey before the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020. The couple, along with Nicole has been living in Istanbul.
The family of her employer and Wilma were on vacation in the city of Antakya, in Hatay, the worst-hit area near the border to Syria, when the tremor struck.
Rescuers pulled her body from the rubble on Feb. 9.
Only two Filipinos have died from the quake in Turkey, both of them married to Turkish nationals, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The other victim was buried in Turkey.