Senator Manny Villar today vowed to sustain his advocacy in extending help to hundreds of distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) abroad despite his recent resignation as Senate President.
Deriving from his first hand experience in Jordan where Villar took home with him 23 marooned OFWs, Villar said that hundreds more are still waiting for government help to arrive.
“Rest assured that my resignation from the Senate presidency will not hinder my ardent desire to extend full assistance to troubled Filipino workers abroad. I can never turn my back to those who need my help,” he said.
Aside from glorifying OFWs as the country’s modern day heroes, Villar said that their problems regarding their working and living conditions should also be aired.
“This is not only to warn the public of the hardships and possible troubles one may get in contact with while working abroad, but also for us to do better in rendering services to our fellowmen,” explained Villar.
More so, he added that these experiences should aid public officials, such as him, in terms of legislation that will directly benefit OFWs.
Gloria De la Cruz of Ballesteros, Cagayan, and one of the 23 OFWs that Sen. Villar brought home from Jordan last September said she has been waiting for help to arrive for almost a year already. She related she entered Jordan through a tourist visa and worked as a domestic helper for 11 months.
“I was earning $150 a month. Since I wasn’t able to secure a working visa, I shifted from one employer to another. It was hard and the working conditions they subjected us to are inhumane. The last employer I worked for was a Brazilian national. And as if his cruelty was not enough, he also made attempts to rape me. That’s why I ran to the Philippine Embassy to seek their help,” she narrated.
But the Philippine Embassy, according to Dela Cruz, provided little help for OFWs like her. After staying there for two months, she moved to Polo-OUMWA. It was here where Villar met with her. She was with Polo-OUMWA for almost 11 months.
“I have passed my request for assistance with OUMWA, but with the rate the office was moving, I knew that my papers will take years before my request will be attended to. But thanks to Senator Villar, in three days time, he was able to bring me back home to my family,” said Dela Cruz.
Villar vowed to help more OFWs, especially those from indigent families. He also intends to pass more laws for the improvement of the condition of future and current migrant workers.#