OFW ‘padala’ for sale?
A courier company regularly delivers balikbayan boxes to the family of an overseas Filipino worker in Europe. The company has been servicing the same overseas Filipino worker (OFW) for several years now, so the guy who delivers the packages has become familiar with the family members here.
One day, when the guy delivered a package to the family, one of the children in the household told him: “Pakisabi [sa OFW] na nagpadala nito, hindi namin gusto yung mga ipinadala niya, at ibebenta na lamang namin ito.” (Please tell the OFW who sent this box that we don’t like the things she sends us so we will just sell it.)
The delivery man was saddened. Although he is only the one who delivers the boxes, he is a father who can relate to the hardships and sacrifices of the OFW just to be able to send something to her family, believing that it would bring happiness to her loved ones.
He overheard the siblings saying they were expecting electronic gadgets from their OFW mom. When they couldn’t find them in the box, the kids chased him just to express their heartbreaking message for their mom.
The delivery man noticed that the kids just piled up the boxes outside their house. They did not appreciate her presents and so intended to sell her padala.
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Problems of child support
Bantay OCW received an e-mail from one OFW in Riyadh regarding her husband: “My husband is having an affair and I would like to ask for child support. We are both working both here in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia but in different hospitals. He came here first two years ago but when I learned that he has an affair with another woman, I applied for a job here. Currently, he is in the Philippines for vacation. How can I complain? Where? His other woman is living in the United States now. When he found out I was here, he broke up with his girl from his work place. Please help. Is it possible to prohibit him from going back to Saudi? How can I demand his support for my child?”–Lailani
Atty. Dante Mercado, legal adviser of Bantay OCW Foundation, has this advice for Lailani: “I am afraid you can’t prevent your husband from going back to Saudi unless there is a criminal case of nonsupport and a warrant of arrest has been issued by the court, together with a hold-departure order. A criminal case can only be filed in the Philippines but the respondent must be served with summons to comply with due process requirements.”
Another avenue is to request the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for cancellation of his passport and his delisting as OFW, in which case he may be ordered repatriated, having no passport. Then you can prosecute him for nonsupport. With respect to his relations or affair with another woman, since it was committed outside the Philippine jurisdiction, it would not be possible to apply Philippine criminal law.
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