Model OFW families hailed
MANILA, Philippines—Two families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)—one from Maguindanao and the other from Ilocos Sur—received the Model OFW Family of the Year Award (Mofya) from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) on Monday.
The family of Esmael Maulana, an overseas Filipino worker for over 30 years in Saudi Arabia, won the land-based category while the family of Alberto Balbalan, a marine engineer for a Singaporean company for the past 26 years, was picked for the sea-based category.
The Mofya is an annual event of the Owwa aimed at recognizing outstanding OFW families. This year’s awarding ceremony was held at the summit hall of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
Maulana is currently working as a project coordinator for Saudi Bin Laden Group of Companies, the largest construction firm in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
His savings from working overseas enabled him to invest in farmlands in his hometown in Rayah Buayan, Maguindanao, and set up new business ventures such as Empjad Construction Co. and Empjad Internet Cafe.
Soon, Maulana will also open a new water refilling station in his hometown.
On the other hand, Balbalan, resident of Barangay (village) Lucaban in Burgos, Ilocos Sur, has been working as chief engineer for Tide Water Marine International in Singapore since 1987.
Balbalan has been able to buy a house in Burgos, Ilocos Sur, and a number of vehicles for business use.
His family also bought two houses in Cainta, Rizal, and invested in beach resorts, water refilling stations and drug stores.
Each of the two winners was given P500,000, courtesy of Owwa and private sponsors like Globe Telecom and Bank of the Philippine Islands. Another P100,000 will be given to a charity organization of their choice.
Mofya said winning families were able to defy the social risks that are sometimes associated with overseas migration—broken homes, drugs and alcohol addiction, teen pregnancy and the like, Owwa Administrator Carmelita Dimzon said in her speech at the awarding rites.
She said the winning OFW families were selected because they exemplified success in keeping the family and its strong moral values intact.
“They showed success in giving quality education to their children and in attaining economic prosperity not only for themselves but for their community,” she added.
The two winners were chosen from 34 model OFW families from the country’s 17 regions, who also received cash prizes, trophies and goodies.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and Sen. Nancy Binay, who spoke on behalf of her father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, graced the three-hour event.
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