Villar sends 21 distressed OFWs back home

November 12, 2010 1:05 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 12 -– Nine months after his failed presidential bid, Senator Manny Villar resumed his Sagip OFW (overseas Filipino worker) program as he repatriated 21 distressed OFWs excluding children from Malaysia.

The OFWs who either victims of illegal recruiters or entered Malaysia as tourists and overstayed while engaging in various jobs there arrived from Malaysia at 5 a.m. on Friday on board Cebu Pacific Flight 5J 502 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

From the airport, the Villar’s Sagip OFW staff brought the group of OFWs at the Marinold Restaurant along Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay City where they had breakfast with their relatives as well as Villar and her daughter Camille.

”Like what I have promised, though I was not lucky to win the election, we will not stop in helping our countrymen who are seeking for help in other countries, of course, with the help of our government agencies,” Villar told the OFWs and their relatives.

Villar promised to continue his Sagip OFW and other programs which aim to give assistance to the distressed OFWs by giving them livelihood training that they would use in looking for alternative jobs in the country.

”I have been doing these programs for 15 years now and that’s why I brought my daughter (Camille) here so that she will know how does it feel to help our unfortunate countrymen,” Villar said.

After breakfast, Villar and daughter Camille took time to mingle and to listen to the different heart-melting stories that forced the repatriated OFWs to seek Villar’s assistance.

”I’m so thankful to senator Villar for helping me and my family. We will not return to Malaysia again,” said Manuel Natividad whose nine years of illegal stay in Malaysia ended when his right foot was hit by a falling bag of cement in a construction accident last March.

Natividad, who returned with wife Miriam and two daughters (Imee and Aishan), could no longer remember how many times he was apprehended and how much money he handed to the apprehending policemen.

”My cousin enticed me to go there at tourist and later find a job which I did until that accident that dislocated me knees and now I have to use these crutches. I don’t know what to do but I’m thankful that we’re now here in our country,” the 41-year-old Natividad from Tagum City said in an interview with Philippines News Agency.

Villar said added he knows the magnitude of the problem of OFWs and his program is his own little way of helping the government in their repatriation effort and to provide assistance to OFWs in distress.

“All of us should extend our helping hand for our countrymen who are in dire need of assistance abroad. Leaving behind your family to work abroad is a supreme sacrifice and that’s why we should help those who can’t afford to return home,” Villar said.

Aside from Natividad family, other repatriated OFWs include Johnny Sinaban, 22 (Quirino, Isabela); Romy Daligdig, 29 (Tanza, Cavite); Dennis Peralta, 29 (Quirino, Ilocos Sur); Ronaldo Closa, 34 (Saguday, Quirino); Jores Palma, 24 (San Jacinto, Pangasinan); Melanie Fabrigas, 26 (Rosales, Pangasinan); Rolando Fernandez, 38 (Leloy, Zamboanga del Norte); Estella Joseco, 39 (Caloocan City); Ernesto Linocon, 45 (San Isidro, Davao Oriental); Artemio Valuz, 52 (Binangonan, Rizal); Irene Valuz, 24 (Binangonan, Rizal); Emma Aronce (Binondo, Manila), 45; Jessette Bacani, 28 (Quezon City); Juvy Quinlat, 44 (Dingle, Iloilo); Ma. Arlene Santillan, 34; Mokrim Marwan, 28 (Sumisip, Basilan); Gemma Tegerro, 41 (Dasmarinas, Cavite); Mimi Marie Lozada, 35 (Ballesteros, Cagayan Valley); and Ramon Sto. Domingo, 47 (Cardona, Rizal).

Villar thanked the Overseas Workers Welfare and Administration (OWWA) facilitating the papers that led to the immediate repatriation of the 21 OFWs. (PNA) LOR/jfm

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