This morning I was with the group of former Las Pinas representative Cynthia Villar to witness the reunion of 3 repatriated OFWs  from Dubai with their families.  The Villar Foundation, with Mrs. Cynthia Villar at the helm as Managing Director, has been at the forefront of repatriation efforts as part of its commitment to help distressed Overseas Filipino Workers abroad. The foundation in coordination with the Office of Senator Manny Villar as well as related government agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA), and the Blas Ople Center and Migrante  have repatriated close to two thousands distressed OFWs for the past 2 decades. The group who arrived today from Dubai has been the second batch of OFWs that were given aid by The Villar Foundation this year.


Jacquelyn reunited with her family

The distressed OFWs had the sought the help and protection of POLO OWWA (Philippine Overseas Labor Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Association) in Dubai and The Villar Foundation as they have suffered from different forms abuse and maltreatment from their Arab employers there.  Here are their stories:
31 year old Romilyn Daglupo who worked as a domestic helper in Dubai, UAE left the country pregnant last year.  Upon learning that harsh punishment awaits pregnant unmarried women in  UAE, she ran away from her employer out of fright.  It was her friend’s mother who sought financial assistance from The Villar Foundation’s Sagip-OFW for her safe return to the country. When asked how she feels about returning home, she shared that, “Masaya po ako at nagpapasalamat kay Maam (Mrs. Cynthia Villar) sa pagtulong sa amin.”
Romilyn Daglupo

Joanalin Pascua, also sought refuge at POLO OWWA in Dubai after experiencing hardships in the hands of her foreign employer. She recounted how her female employer overworked, underpaid, and physically abused her. She related that, “Yung amo kong lalaki mabait sa akin, yung amo kong babae ang lagi akong sinasaktan at pinagiinitan.” When asked if she is still willing to work abroad again if given the chance, she confided that, “Hindi na po, dito na lang po ako sa pamilya ko.”
Joanalin Pascua

24 year old Jacquelyn Costuna ran away from her employer because of the way her Arab employers maltreated and verbally abused her. She described her experience with them as,  “Mahirap po doon, lalo na yung alagaan yung bata. Pagnagkamali  ako, sinasaktan ako agad. sinasabunutan, binabatukan, sinisigawan.”  She stayed at POLO-OWWA refuge house together with Joanalin until their repatriation.
Jacquelyn Costuna

Four repatriated OFWs were expected to arrive today but only three made it as the other one was detained at the immigration when they were about to leave due to the pending unresolved case of the agency where she was connected. Mrs. Villar shared that as much as they would like to help all distressed OFWs in POLO-OWWA – Dubai, due to limitations in the budget and the gravity of their cases, they can only help as much.  For OFWs who seek the foundation’s assistance but had to settle formal court cases or complaints filed against them by their foreign employers, the foundation leave it to the OFW’s employment agency to do an action on the matter or course them through the proper government body who is more in the position to help them in such cases. Mrs. Cynthia Villar related that, “Yung mga me kaso don mahirap sila matulungan agad kasi of course ibang bansa yon, me sarili silang rules and laws that we have to abide to and respect also. At sa mga ganong kaso, we leave it to the DFA to handle such cases, sila ang mas me jurisdiction don.”  
Mrs. Cynthia Villar

Mrs.Villar shared  that Overseas Filipino Workers have always been close to her and Senator Villar’s hearts because it was a wife of an OFW, a seaman, who first bought a house from them . Their first clients in their housing business were in fact these seafarers. They have always admired the OFWs’ tenacity to improve the lives of their families, heroism, and courage. And for this reason, they have made it their mission to help and protect them through the The Villar Foundation’s Sagip OFW/OFW Assistance.  Aside from shouldering the repatriated OFWs airfare, return tickets to their provinces  and exit pass expenses, The Villar Foundation also provide them with livelihood opportunities through its Skills UP & Livelihood Assistance Package. In partnership with various organizations, The Villar Foundation under this project  helps the repatriated OFWs gain the necessary skills that would allow them to find employment locally.  They are also provided with livelihood skills training in case they want to jump start their own business.  The foundation also extends medical assistance to returning physically abused and maltreated OFWs to ensure that they are in good health.  Burial assistance and legal aid services are also extended to those OFWs in need of such services.
Each day millions of Filipinos face the stark reality that the money that they are earning sometimes does not even compensate for half of their families’ basic needs. We cannot blame them for wanting  better lives for their families even at the cost of their own welfare and safety.
Nearly two million Filipinos leave each year to work overseas and a big margin of this number, sad to say, are non-professionals.  They are domestic helpers like Romilyn, Joanalin, and Jacquelyn who easily fall prey to the opportunistic demands of foreign employers. The government can only do little to help them as it battles with other humongous problems here at the home front.
The Villar Foundation clearly knows that the task of protecting fellow citizens especially the ones off shore does not only lie on government efforts alone. They have a good grasp of  what nation building is. They have proven this again and again by doing their best in providing whatever help they can extend to distressed OFWs and by closely working hand in hand with the government in an effort to deliver services that would not only address the OFWs’ immediate needs but uplift their lives as well.

35 comments on “The Villar Foundation And Its Two Decades of Continued Efforts To Protect the Welfare of OFWs”

  1. Great writeup! It’s good they support our OFWs. They need all the help they can especially in hostile countries.
    Hope Mr. Villar can channel more of his personal wealth to this foundation 🙂

  2. It’s good that they help other people and glad that Mrs. Villar is there too. I kinda wish I have a foundation that I could spare some for those who are less fortunate. Nice post.

    • Haha, no it is not an early campaign. The foundation is on its 20th year, the ads are part of their year long celebration, to spread awareness of what the foundation has been doing.:)

  3. Mrs. Villar is really keeping her promise on her ads. Nice to know there are still some people who lends a helping hand to those in need . 🙂

  4. I really feel for this OFWs as my mother is also working abroad. Sometimes I freak out everytime these OFWs come out with their negative plight because we never know why my mother might suffer the same circumstance. You made a good promotion for this foundation because it’s the best littlest way we can be of help to these unsung heroes who boost our economy.

  5. Kahit papanu meron nagmamalasakit sa mga OFWs. Ang hirap lang ang foundation ay nasa paghahawak ng isang politiku. Di makukuha ang pag-dududa… Believe me or not these good deeds could be used in political gimmick… Pero pa ra sa akin me pulitika o wala, magangdang foundation ito para sa OFWs! Kudos!

    • I agree with you Sir Gil. Me bahid pulitika man o wala ang importante nakikinabang ang ating mga kababayan sa tulong and effort na binibigay nila.

  6. They risks their lives to work overseas, for majority reason that is, to alleviate poverty in their family. But there are the unlucky ones. Thanks to Mrs. Villar and her foundation for the assistance she is extending to our less privileged kababayans.

  7. Some of our OFW’s are already overworked as it is.. I just don’t understand why there are people who still finds the time to abuse hardworking individuals (regardless of race). It’s just not right. I’m just glad that there is a foundation such as Mrs. Villar’s.

  8. I commend Mr. Villar and family! Taking a step forward, mas best din siguro may training/ program sila sa mga OFWs before sila umalis ng bansa… educating them on self-advocacy, self-determination and dealing with people… para mas pro-active! 🙂

  9. More local jobs would be the answer to this huge problem of our OFWs. Thank you to Mrs. Villar’s effort in helping some of them. I hope we get more support from the government for these kinds of projects.

  10. Happy that the distressed OFW found help from the Villar Foundation but sad that they have to undergo such plight overseas because of lack of jobs in our country. I hope we can all help them by lobbying with the government for more jobs!

  11. Happy that our distressed OFWs found the help they needed through the Villar Foundation, but sad that they have to go through such plight in foreign countries because of lack of jobs in our country. I hope we all can help by lobbying the government for more job opportunities for our Kababayan.

  12. This is a very good news to OFWs! Being an OFW is never easy. To work outside of our comfort zone is a sacrificial thing and the longing to go home is always there.
    May the good Lord bless the people behind this foundation.

  13. Its good to know there are people like Mrs. Villar who takes care of the welfare of our OFW’s the fact that she has to take care of her constituents in Las Piñas.

  14. The Villars are so blessed with money and power.
    But they know to give and share whatever they had.
    This foundation helps other people in need either
    in goods or services. I just hope this will be their mission
    in life.

  15. While more jobs in the Philippines is a surefire way to minimize problems with OFWs getting abused, what Mrs.Villar is doing is commendable, sana yung mga government department na need na gumawa niyan kasingsipag nila…hehe, lalo na yung nakaupo sa pinakataas :/

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