A well-loved Negrense caregiver who was earlier reported missing after a Hamas-led attack in Israel was confirmed dead on Friday, October 13.
After a long wait the family of Loreta Alacre, 49, of Cadiz Viejo, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, received the news from the Philippine Embassy in Israel that she was dead, her sister Anabella Alacre said.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega, at a press conference on Friday, also confirmed that a 49-year-old woman from Negros Occidental was the third Filipino casualty of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, while three others remain missing.
De Vega said that the family of the victim was already informed about the news along with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who already instructed the government agencies involved in monitoring the situation in Israel to work closely with the family and provide them with all the necessary assistance.
In fact, De Vega said that the Embassy in Israel is closely coordinating with the sisters of the Negrense for the repatriation of her remains.
NOT AT MUSIC FEST
Loreta’s sister Ailen Villarin Alacre, who works in Kuwait, said her sister did not die at a music festival near the boader of Gaza as earlier reported.
She said her sister had gone to her boarding house for her day off on Friday and was on her way back to her employer’s house on Saturday morning when she was killed.
She was with her boyfriend, a Chinese national, when the Hamas militants attacked, killing both of them.
Ailen did not have specifics on where the attack took place and if others were also killed.
IDENTIFIED THROUGH PHOTO
When they did not receive any word on Loreta’s whereabouts since Saturday her friend in Israel started scouring the different Israeli hospitals but could not find her. On Thursday, the friend left a photo of Loreta at the Philippine Embassy in a bid to find her, Anabella said.
On Thursday evening the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait contacted Ailen in Kuwait to inform her that Loreta was dead. She then relayed the sad news to her family in Cadiz.
CAREGIVER FOR 16 YEARS
Loreta had worked as a caregiver in Israel for 16 years and was planning to come home to celebrate her 50th birthday on December 13.
She left to work in Israel in 2007 and had last returned to the Philippines eight years ago in 2015 for a visit, Anabella said.
Loreta’s employer Noam Solomon had also helped search for her.
In a Facebook post she said Loreta was her dedicated caregiver for the last six years. “Please help find my Lorie,” she said.
“There is no knowledge at all about where my dear and beloved Lori is,” Solomon added.
Loreta first worked as a caregiver for Solomon’s grandmother. When the grandmother died, Solomon retained her services after she figured in an accident that left her disabled.
Anabella said when they informed Solomon of the death of Loreta on Friday morning she wept. Solomon said she loved Loreta who was a very kind person, Anabella added.
Solomon said she wants to come to the Philippines when Loreta’s remains are brought home.
Anabella described Loreta, the sixth of eight siblings, as a kind, generous and helpful person.
She was sending her nephews and nieces to school, and was helping all of her siblings with various needs, Anabella said.
Loreta paid for hospital bills, birthdays, weddings, baptisms and funerals of family members, Anabella said.
Early this month two boxes sent by Loreta from Israel arrive filled with canned goods, soap, shampoo, coffee and other supplies for her family, Anabella said.
Anabella said they asked that the body of her sister be flown back to Cadiz so they could see her one last time before burying her.
“We want to bring her back to Cadiz and bury her at the Barangay Caduha-an cemetery,” she said.
But Anabella admitted that it might take a little time to bring her back home because of the ongoing war in Israel.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said he along with the people of Negros Occidental mourn the loss of Loreta.
“On behalf of the people of Negros Occidental, I extend my prayers and sincerest sympathies to Loreta’s family. May her soul rest in peace,” he said.
He also said the provincial government is prepared to assist in bringing back her remains to Cadiz City and in any way possible to help ease the burden on the family.
“I also extend my prayers to all the casualties of this war in Israel, hoping for the end to this conflict,” Lacson said.
Cadiz City Mayor Salvador Escalante also said Cadiznons mourn the death of Loreta.
The Cadiz city government is beyond willing to assist the Alacre family in their moment of grief, he said.
Escalante said they will coordinate with the Negros Occidental provincial government “for the ‘oneness’ of our efforts in helping the bereaved family, especially for the return of Loreta’s remains here in Sitio Camay-an, Brgy. Cadiz Viejo”, the mayor said.
Anabella said Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration have also assured them of help.
The DMW official assured that assistance would be given for the education of Loreta’s nephews and nieces, Anabella said.
No matter how much assistance is given to ease their plight, it is heartbreaking for their family to have lost Loreta whom they all loved, Anabella said.*