MANILA, Philippines—Two families from Ilocos Sur and Eastern Samar received the prestigious Model OFW Family of the Year Award (Mofya) from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa).
The family of ship captain Manuel Gabornes of Lawaan, Eastern Samar, was awarded the Mofya trophy for the sea-based category, while the family of engineer Carlos Asuncion of Sta. Catalina, Ilocos Sur, won in the land-based category..
“Mofya pays tribute to families that remain solid and stable despite the odds and challenges they face and encounter,” said Owwa administrator Carmelita Dimzon during the awarding ceremony at the Hotel Sofitel on Thursday.
“These families continue to inspire other OFW families through their heartwarming and touching success stories,” she said.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the award is meant to convey the message that “the government is genuinely concerned for the sustained development and maintenance of strong family relations which is one of the frontline defense against the many social cost of migration.”
The winners who received P600,000 each were chosen among 34 outstanding OFW families that were selected from different regions of the country.
The Gabornes and Asuncion families believe that distance was not a factor in keeping in touch and being close during the head of the families’ long absence from home.
“He has maintained regular communication with us every time he’s on board, either through phone calls and letters,” said Nida Gabornes, who received the award on behalf of her husband, an OFW for the past 32 years.
Nida said that while her husband is away most of the time, he makes sure that their children always feel his guidance and love for them.
Carlos Asuncion, the head of the second award recipient, worked in Saudi Arabia as an engineer for 13 years.
Asuncion said constant communication was probably the key in keeping his family intact.
He said he made it a point to make his presence felt by constantly calling, writing letters and sending voice tapes to his family.
“Before it was difficult because communication was not easy. During my vacations I see to it that I spend time with them, we travel together to bond as a family,” he recounted, adding that he tried his best to guide his children properly even if he was far from them.