Press Release
February 18, 2017

Villar: Tomorrow remains bright for our distressed OFWs
Distributes sari-sari stores to help repatriated workers

Sen. Cynthia A. Villar distributed on Thursday 'sari-sari' store packages to seven (7) overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were recently repatriated to the country following abuses by their foreign employers.

Villar, who has been an avid OFW supporter and protector, expressed hope the livelihood packages would help the workers and their families get back on their feet and recover from the trauma caused by the abuses that they experienced while working abroad.

'They do not deserve the maltreatment that they were subjected to. They only wanted a better life for their families. No one has the right to take away their dreams of a better future for their loved ones, ' Villar said.

Villar added: 'If life abroad has been cruel to them, I'd like them to feel today that life can be better here in our country, where their families are always present to share their ups and downs. These sari-sari store packages maybe minimal, but I hope that these would help them meet the daily requirements of living.'

Aside from the packages, Villar likewise distributed financial assistance to Aiza S. Antonio, Valentina P. Lopez, Warren P. Nemenzo, Vergilio Ursaiz, Darazel Nicolas, Cheryl Caganda, and Jane A. Reyes.

The seven OFWs recently returned to the country through the assistance of the Sagip OFW program of the Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance), with the support of Blas Ople Policy Center.

Antonio is a household service worker from Las Pinas city who grabbed the chance to work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She is the breadwinner to her family of four - herself, her jobless husband and their 2 children, who are 7 and 4 years old. She left her employer after she was forced to immediately go back to work the minute she was discharged from the hospital, where she was confined due to severe weakness. She worked 17 hours a day and allowed to eat once a day only.

Lopez, on the other hand, is from Tayabas, Quezon. She flew to Malaysia to work as a household service worker. She has two children, aged 5 and 3, and her husband works as a seasonal farmer. While abroad, she was overworked and maltreated at work. She fell sick while in Malaysia, was hospitalized and diagnosed with a heart disease. Aside from financial help, she also needs medical assistance for medical needs.

Nemenzo, single, was a restaurant utility worker from Jeddah, KSA. Due to overwork and unsuitable working conditions, he got afflicted with a rare disease and left his foreign employer to return to his family in Gerona, Tarlac.

On the other hand, Ursaiz was an OFW who also worked in Jeddah, KSA. He has 4 children, of which 3 are going to school. He was a victim of illegal recruitment.

Nicolas is from Hagonoy, Bulacan. He worked at Khasmis, KSA as a domestic worker. He was maltreated by his employer for one year before he was able to seek help from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Ople center.

Caganda is a single mother with 1 child from San Nicolas, Iriga City. She worked as a household service worker in Hongkong. Her family was a victim of the wrath of typhoon Nina. Caganda was a victim of illegal recruitment. After 5 months of working in Hongkong, she was hospitalized due to intestinal problem and was sent home by her employer.

Finally, Reyes was from Sto. Tomas, Pasig city. She was a domestic helper in Jeddah, KSA. She survived her 2-year ordeal with her employer and was rescued by embassy people before she was repatriated to the country. She was maltreated and subjected to unfavorable working conditions. Her salary for 21 months was likewise unpaid.

'I want these 7 workers to continue dreaming. I want them to still believe that everything will be better, that their sufferings will end, that tomorrow, the sun will shine again. I want them to begin again, and I want to help them jumpstart their new beginnings,' Villar said.

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