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Saipan-bound Pinoy dies on flight, wife pleads for assistance

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SUSUPE, Saipan – Zenaida Balisalisa had been waiting for her husband, Amado, at the Saipan International Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

But an hour after Amado’s scheduled arrival, Zenaida received shocking news: her husband suffered a heart attack and died while on board the Saipan-bound Continental Micronesia flight. He was 46 years old.

“Na-shock ako. Parang nawala ako sa sarili ko. Ang hirap (I was shocked.
It’s as if I lost myself. It’s hard)," she told GMANews.TV in a telephone interview Thursday.

Amado, who hails from Dasol, Pangasinan, was only five days away from being interviewed for a United States “green card" when he succumbed to cardiac arrest.

Due to the incident, the Continental plane, which left Manila Wednesday morning, was forced to
make an emergency landing on Guam to release Amado.

His family is now seeking financial help to bring his remains back to Saipan.

Meanwhile, Zenaida said whatever assistance that can be extended by the Filipino community on Saipan would be greatly appreciated. She said they used up their savings for her husband’s bypass surgery last April.

Zenaida and Amado were married for 16 years. They have four children, all US citizens.

‘A good man’

Ceferino Balisalisa, Amado's uncle, described his nephew as a good man.

"Isa siyang matulungin at mabait na tao (He’s a helpful and good man)," Ceferino said.

Amado's immigration status changed from a Filipino contract worker to a Filipino national with an immediate relative (IR) status, after his eldest US citizen son petitioned him.

He worked as a gas attendant on Saipan, where he stayed for over 20 years. Last April, he went to the Philippines to undergo a bypass surgery.

Jose Rey Madrilejos, assistance to national officer at the Philippine Consulate General in the CNMI, said Amado and his wife were scheduled to be interviewed by the US Immigration office in Guam on Monday, June 23, for their "green card" application.

Amado decided to go to Saipan first to pick up his wife, before flying to Guam on Sunday.

"Mag-isa na lang ako. Malungkot pero mas kailangan ko siyang gawin ngayon dahil mag-isa na lang ako na tutulong sa mga anak ko (I'm all alone now. It’s sad but I need to go on, especially now that I'm the only one left to help my children)," Zenaida said.

She said she and her husband have long wanted to go to Hawaii once they get their green card to look for higher-paying jobs to help their family. They have relatives in Hawaii.

She will be flying to Guam on Sunday to personally bring her husband’s remains to Saipan. She said she has yet to hear the amount needed for the body’s repatriation.

The Coalition of United Guest Workers (CNMI), led by its president Irene Tantiado, has started seeking help for Balisalisa’s family. - GMANews

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