OFWs seek help on social network sites

By ALDWIN QUITASOL
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — “Social networks na ang parang mas maasahan,” (social networks seems to be more reliable).

According to Veron Malecdan of Innabuyog-Gabriela, many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), their families and friends resort to posting their pleas for help on social networks like Facebook (FB) as they expect sure response from various organizations, sectors and individuals.

She said this (posting on networking sites) only shows that Filipinos already lost hope that government agencies tasked to look after the welfare of its people especially those who are working abroad answer their call for help. She added that there are stories of OFWs out of mercy to their colleagues who are being abused by their employers abroad posted the case on FB in soliciting possible assistance.

She cited a case where an OFW that was being abused by her employers jumped out of the building where she works and was hospitalized, the OFW who is recuperating from her injuries cannot go home because she has no money as her employer did not pay her salaries while the Philippine embassy is not helping much.

Malecdan said that this trend only reflects how the government is treating its OFWs. Prior to the deployment of OFWs to their destinations, they are made to pay the compulsory membership fee of US$25 collected by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). The trust fund now reaching more than P13 billion, she said. should be used to assist OFWs in distress. She also mentioned the P27 million Legal Assistance Fund entrusted to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“Pero hindi ito nagagamit para sa ating mga kababayan nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa,” (But this is not being used for our countrymen who are working abroad) she added.

She also said that aside from social networks, Filipino migrant workers who are in trouble are seeking assistance from non-government and civic organizations, churches and donations from benevolent individuals. She added that some OFW applied for a private insurance.

Malecdan revealed that an OFW from the City of Baguio, Hilda Wanawan who suffered from a heart attack in Hongkong was able to come home through the services of a private insurance company she applied for.

Wanawan’s fare from Hongkong was paid for by the insurance company. The firm also fixed for a helicopter that airlifted her from the Nonoy Aquino International Airport and brought her to the Baguio General Hospital (BGH).

“Buti na lang, may insurance siya. Marami ang na-oospital sa ibang bansa na talagang naghihintay na lang yata ng kamatayan doon dahil nga sa walang nag-aasikaso sa kanila,” (It is good that she is insured. There are many OFWs hospitalized abroad that are seemingly waiting for their death because nobody is assisting them) lamented Malecdan.

She concluded that government authorities should wake up and seriously look into the plight of the people they are calling bagong bayani. # nordis.net

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