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PIA Press Release
2008/11/27

Senator Villar vows to help distressed OFWs

By Freddie G. Lazaro

Vigan City (27 November) -- Senator Manny Villar vowed to sustain his advocacy in extending help to hundreds of distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) abroad after he resigned as Senate President.

In his press statement forwarded here, Villar said that hundreds more suffering OFWs are still waiting for government help to return in the country. Recently, the senator took home the 23 marooned OFWs from Jordan republic.

With the misery of hundreds OFWs in abroad, he intend to pass more laws for the improvement of the living condition of future and current migrant workers, especially those from the indigent families.

"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, he 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," he explained.

He added that these experiences of the OFWs should aid public officials in terms of legislation that will directly benefit them.

Gloria Dela Cruz of Ballesteros, Cagayan, one of the 23 OFWs that Sen. Villar brought home from Jordan last September, said she has been waiting for help to arrive to the country for almost a year. 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 to us 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.

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. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]

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