By Alex P. Vidal
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The cremation of cancer patient Lorna Tolentino has been held in abeyance after the Canadian Embassy in Manila denied the visa of the dead’s sister who was supposed to arrive last January 7 here to decide on the matter.
Tolentino, 39, a caregiver in Burnaby, passed away last New Year, according to Multicultural Helping House Society (MHHS) president Tomas Avendano. She died of ovarian cancer, said doctors in the Burnaby General Hospital.
Avendano, who coordinates with the Philippine Consulate here, said Jocelyn Tolentino-Lorenzo was denied of visitor’s visa in Manila and failed to make the trip as scheduled.
“We are on process of making an appeal (with the Canadian Embassy in Makati) baka mali ang papers that she presented during the interview,” Avendano said in an exclusive interview. “As of now, we can’t decide on what to do with the body. We need to wait for the sister’s arrival.”
In the event that Lorenzo can’t make it again in her second try for application of visa, Avendano said they will let the hospital decide on what to do with Tolentino’s body which is now in the morgue.
Tolentino had been confined in the hospital since September 2011 and did not have any relative in Canada.
Avendano has ruled the possibility of Tolentino’s body to be brought back to her province in Batangas, Philippines “because we don’t have enough money to facilitate the trip.”
Cremation is the best option, Avendano said, because it will cost only about Canadian $5,000 while bringing the body to the Philippines will cost about Canadian $15,000.
Avendano confirmed Tolentino did not have any insurance since she was not yet immigrant. “Her story is like that of a caregiver whose dreams for a better life in Canada did not come true,” Avendano stressed.
All that the MHHS could give is Canadian $200 to be taken from the crisis fund of live-in caregivers, he added.
The money will be given to Lorenzo once she arrives, Avendano said.
Lorenzo’s round-trip ticket was secured by the St. Mary’s Parish Church and Migrante B.C., it was learned.
“Our efforts to solicit financial help for Lorna Tolentino are ongoing,” Avendano revealed.
Live-in caregivers are individuals who are qualified to provide care for children, elderly persons or persons with disabilities in private homes without supervision.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, live-in caregivers must live in the private home where they work in Canada.
Filipinos comprise 93 percent of all live-in caregivers in Canada since the government introduced the Live-In Caregiver Program which gives workers the chance to become permanent residents after completing a certain period of service.