By Wilnard Bacelonia
MANILA – Senator Imee Marcos urged on Friday the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), and the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) groups to give more focus on creating support programs to deal with family problems being faced by overseas workers.
Marcos made the statement during her visit with Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) Chief Arnel Ignacio, to the wake in Taysan town, Batangas province of Virginia Dela Peña’s four children who were killed by her live-in partner at their home in Trece Martires City, Cavite province on March 9 before ending his own life.
The lawmaker said these problems being faced by OFWs and their dependents who are left in the Philippines can be addressed by support groups.
“Syempre hindi naman normal sa isang pamilya na nagkakawalay-walay. Dapat talaga kahit papaano may support group na nananatili sa Pilipinas at bigyan ng konting pansin itong mga problems na natural lang sa pamilya sana (Of course it is not normal for a family to be separated from each other. There has to be a support group here in the Philippines that will give attention to these problems which are also natural in a family),” Marcos said in an ambush interview.
She cited Filipino fathers who were left with no choice but to also act as mothers while their wife works abroad.
“Yung tinatawag na feminization of labor, ang bigat nyan sa pamilya. Syempre yung lalake, nawawalan ng dignidad at kinakawawa rin ng iba. Kaya nagiging abnormal kumbaga, nagiging unnatural yung set-up ng pamilya, kaya kinakailangan talaga tulungan (That’s what we call feminization of labor, that’s too burdensome for a family. Of course, the man will lose his dignity and will be teased by others. That’s why the setup of the family becomes abnormal, unnatural, and needs to be helped out),” Marcos added.
With the assistance that OWWA can provide, Marcos also committed to help Dela Peña’s family in other ways she can.
Last year, OWWA Board of Trustees formed the OFW Children’s Circle (OCC) through Board Resolution No. 7 which aims to protect the welfare of descendants of migrant workers.
The OWWA said in a statement that the OCC aims to help OFW children to achieve their full potential in community- and nation-building, as well as address the societal impact of labor migration, such as separation from an OFW-parent, and the possible negative effects on their well-being and mental health.
Likewise, the program will serve as a venue for them to showcase the creative skills and talents of OFW children, improve socialization skills and harness coping mechanisms of OFW children, foster awareness of youth-centered and civic advocacies such as environment and climate change, values reorientation, digital literacy, and anti-drugs and substance abuse.
The Board of Trustees has initially allocated PHP15 million to cover the operational and administrative expenses of the program. (PNA)