Role reversal: A househusband’s lament
“You’re the partner but I’m the lover.” Roldan stared at the strange message his wife had posted on her Facebook page. His wife worked in Hong Kong while he stayed home to care for the children. He stared at the computer screen and imagined his wife was having an affair with a married man.
For 11 years, Roldan had worked as an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). In fact, he met his wife in KSA. When his contract expired, his wife asked him to come home to look after their children, while she goes to Hong Kong to work instead.
They got married in 2008. The union, however, did not sit well with the wife’s family. Roldan was blamed for the death of his father-in-law and eventually the death of the mother-in-law. Both parents, the wife’s relatives claimed, were heartbroken to see their daughter marry Roldan.
Roldan agreed to live at the home of his wife’s relatives in Mindanao although he would have preferred not to. The couple decided that this setup was practical because Roldan was still looking for a job. Wanting to please the family, he took up the house chores: gathering and chopping wood, fetching water, cooking, and taking care of his children. He was always tired but did not complain. But what he could not understand was why his wife sent money not to him but to her siblings. He was hoping that as her husband, she would entrust her income to him and support him financially while he hunts for a job. He was hurt but he licked his wounds in silence.
The last straw was when he read the mysterious message that his wife posted in her FB. Roldan suspected that his wife had betrayed him and that she was living with another man in Hong Kong. When he confronted her about the alleged affair, she neither confirmed nor denied it. Instead, she got mad and kicked her husband out of her family’s home. Homeless, Roldan went to Manila.
Roldan sought the help of Bantay OCW so he could see his children again. He said his wife’s relatives were keeping them from him. He also asked our assistance to find work abroad.
Before his wife left for Hong Kong, she promised to shoulder the fees that her husband needed to work again abroad. She did not fulfill her promise. But what broke his heart was when his sister-in-law in Mindanao barred him from visiting his children.
According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration office, Roldan’s wife was not in their records so we could not determine her address in Hong Kong. We endorsed Roldan’s legal concerns to lawyer Elvin Villanueva. We asked Roldan, who used to work as a waiter and pizza/sandwich maker, to apply for a job in one of the passenger cruise lines of the Philippine Transmarine Carriers (PTC). Capt. Ronaldo Enrile and Engr. Peter Lugue, officers of the passenger lines of PTC are our partners.
We also would like to hear the side of Roldan’s wife so we would know the full story.
Susan Andes, aka Susan K. is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM,Monday to Friday 11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon & 12:30-2:00 p.m. with audio/video live streaming: www.dziq.am Studio: 2/F MRP Bldg., Mola St., cor. Pasong Tirad St., Makati City. Helpline: 0927-6499870 / 0920-968.4700 E-mail: [email protected]/ bantayocwfoundation@ yahoo.com