Cebu City – The families of a domestic helper from Maribojoc, Bohol and a master mariner from Oslob, Cebu received the Model OFW Family of the Year awards at the regional level in a ceremony held at a hotel here Friday.
Donna Ofamin, a resident of Maribojoc who works as a domestic helper in Hong Kong, was recognized as this year’s awardee for the land-based category, while Ananias Legarde of Lagunde village in the town of Oslob, who worked as master mariner for quite some time, was selected winner of the same award for the sea-based category.
The Ofamin family also bagged the outstanding achievement for community project award for continuously serving their community through a local church that the family runs.
On the other hand, the Legarde family was recognized for their outstanding achievement for entrepreneurship, for Ananias’ determination to build the foundation of his family’s beach resort business out of his income as a marine transport crew member of a foreign vessel.
The Ofamin family was nominated by the Maribojoc Overseas Filipino Workers’ Beneficiaries Organic Farming Association, while the Legarde family was nominated by the Couples for Christ Cluster 5 based in Oslob.
Mae Codilla, officer-in-charge of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) 7 (Central Visayas), said both the Ofamin and Legade families will automatically represent the region in the search for the National Model OFW Family awards for both land- and sea-based categories.
“At these times of materialism, we can still see OFW families (who) are not overwhelmed by their material success but have remained grounded,” Codilla said in a message he delivered to the seven finalists (three in the sea-based and four in the land-based category) in a ceremony held at the One Central Hotel here.
Codilla also noted each OFW’s efforts in sharing his or her “blessings with the less fortunate, who (has) made a difference in the lives of their loved ones and communities.”
“The OWWA still believes in the Filipino families’ resilience and faith to withstand everything, even separation,” she added.
In his keynote speech, Mayor Edgardo Labella said recognizing Filipinos who are working in other countries “is important because it will encourage our families to be loyal to one another, and the children to recognize the sacrifice of their parents working abroad.”
He also noted that among OFWs, female domestic helpers are most prone to abuse because they are “living in the same house (as) their employer.” He recounted the plight of a female domestic helper who was raped and impregnated by her employer in the Middle East.
The mayor also pledged to support the programs of the Department of Labor and Employment and the OWWA.
In 2005, the OWWA initiated the Model OFW Family of the Year awards “to give due recognition to the outstanding achievements of Filipinos working abroad and their families and to promote success storiesabout OFW families’ resilience amidst the challenges of overseas employment,” a briefer provided by OWWA-7 read.
To qualify, a nominee must have worked for at least four years as an OFW, must not be holding any elective government position, and should have no derogatory record.
The briefer said registered non-government organizations, people’s organizations, religious organizations, and OFW circles may nominate a family to the regional award, and the winners will become the region’s candidate at the national level. (PNA)