Press Release
April 12, 2010


NP-NPC-LDP vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda is heartened over the first overseas absentee vote that went to her and running-mate Manny Villar.

The first official vote fed into the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) at the Bayanihan Kennedy Center in Hong Kong was by OFW Rowena dela Cruz.

"Sana simula na ito. Nagpapasalamat ako kay Rowena dela Cruz na siyang unang OFW na Pilipina na bumoto. Natutuwa kami sa suporta ng ating mga OFWs," she said.

On Saturday, more than half a million registered overseas Filipino voters have begun casting their votes for candidates in national posts at 93 polling centers abroad.

Legarda added, "kami ni Pangulong Manny ay tanging kandidato na nagsusulong ng kapakanan ng mga OFWs. Sana yan ay maging simula ng boto para sa pagkapanalo namin."

"OFWs are not surveyed. But they fully understand the platforms that candidates run their campaign on. I am encouraged by Rowena's vote. Marunong siyang pumili ng plataporma at ng team na sasamahan at siyang mag aalaga sa kapakanan at tutugon sa pangagailangan ng OFWs na matagal nang nakaligtaan ng ating pamahalaan," said Loren, who wants to have a dialogue with dela Cruz.

Legarda has consistently expressed her commitment to the welfare of OFWs and to protect them from abuse while working abroad. Both Legarda and Villar have repatriated hundreds of OFWs.

Legarda rescued nine OFW workers in Malaysia who were victims of human trafficking and were sexually abused. They were recruited as waitresses in Malaysia but were forced into prostitution and were physically abused by sexual predators. Their passports and cellphones were confiscated by their Malaysian Chinese recruiter Ng Kok Weng and his Filipina wife upon arrival. During their captivity, they were given only one meal a day.

The nine women managed to escape and sought refuge in the Philippine embassy. Legarda, who was in Malaysia at the time, urged the embassy to expedite their travel documents and exit pass. She personally sponsored their transportation back to the country.

In the Senate, Legarda authored the Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2003 and the Magna Carta for Women.

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