Pacquiao turns emotional at Senate hearing on slain, abused OFWs
Senator Manny Pacquiao turned emotional on Wednesday as he urged Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to prioritize the safety and welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are being abused by heartless employers.
“Para sa akin masama ang loob ko eh. Galing kasi ako sa hirap, Mr. Secretary, at yung mga paghihirap ng mga tao nararamdaman ko ‘yun,” Pacquiao, on the verge of tears, said at a Senate joint inquiry into the reported deaths and abuse of OFWs.
“Dahil pati ari-arian nila sinanla nila para maka-abroad… nawala ‘yung pag-asa nila sa buhay,” he added.
Despite this, the senator, who earlier filed a resolution to investigate the recent deaths of OFWs, expressed hopes that Bello and other labor officials would extend their services to OFWs.
“I’m hoping na tiwala ako sa inyo na matutulungan nyo ang ating OFWs. Pasensya na kayo naging emotional ako pag pinag-uusapan kasi mga mahihirap na naaapi nakaka-relate ako dahil kahit ano man marating ko sa buhay ko hindi ko nakakalimutan yung buhay ng mahirap,” he added.
Pacquiao also urged Bello against lifting the total deployment ban of workers in Kuwait, until its government agrees to sign the memorandum of understanding to protect Filipino workers there.
Two weeks ago, Filipina worker Joanna Demafelis’ body was found inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait.
On Feb. 17, the remains of Demafelis, who left the country in 2014 to work as a domestic helper for her Lebanese employers in the Arab country, were flown home.
Her death prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to impose a total deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.