Christmas came early for an overseas Filipino worker who won a house and lot from Lessandra during the 10th OFW and Family Summit, organized by OWWA and supported by the Blas Ople Foundation and the Villar family.
On November 19, 2021, Senator Cynthia Villar led the 10th Annual Family Summit and OFW’s Day, which was held virtually for the first time due to the pandemic.
Lucky OFW Wins House And Lot During OFW and Family Summit
“This is a beautiful Christmas gift. We prayed for this,” said Rodrigo Pido, as he thanked Sen. Cynthia Villar and her family, former senator Manny Villar, former DPWH secretary Mark Villar, House Deputy Speaker Camille Villar and Vista Land president Paolo Villar, the Philippine Star reported.
Pido, who lives in Pasig City, said the annual summit provides a huge help to the OFWs and their families. This year, over 5,000 OFWs from various countries participated in the summit.
“Thank you to you, the Villar family! Many thanks to Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance),” said a jubilant Pido.
Due to the global health crisis, the father of four shared that his employer was forced to terminate his contract among several others as the company took a financial hit during the pandemic. Pido used to work as a ground coordinator at an airport overseas.
The participants of the summit also got various prize packages, such as sari-sari store packages, motorcycles and several appliances.
Mark Villar, who used to serve as public works secretary and Las Piñas congressman, noted that their family would keep on supporting the migrant workers of the Philippines.
He recognized the heroism of OFWs and their families. He said that the event was their family’s small way of helping them overcome the new normal.
“We will all recover from this pandemic,” noted the former DPWH secretary, who is seeking a Senate seat in next year’s election.
Congressman Villar said the event is held annually to honor the sacrifices of the OFWs. He added: “You all deserve to reap the fruits of your hard work; you also deserve to be honored for your sacrifices.”
For his part, SIPAG founder and former senator Manny Villar noted that the OFW Summit should be continued to address the various challenges these ‘modern-day heroes’ face.
“We started this (summit) 10 years ago with the goal of helping our countrymen who are out of the country. As House speaker and Senate president, I saw the many problems of our OFWs,” he added.
Senator Cynthia Villar said that the theme of this year’s celebration, “Masiglang Kabuhayan sa Bagong Panahon”, is very timely and relevant to those who are struggling to go back to their normal lives.
“This year, we really committed to push through with the summit so we can celebrate a decade of togetherness and new learnings. We can even get together online. It’s fun because I feel how excited you are for the return of our OFW Summit,” the senator said in Filipino.
“We brought the best experts from the business sector and also friends from government to teach the migrant workers how to handle your finances, and provide them with information about business and livelihood opportunities and government reintegration programs for OFWs,” she added.
Senator Cynthia Villar said that the 10th Summit on the Philippines’ overseas workers comes at a time when many of them were repatriated due to the country’s economic decline.
Before the pandemic, the number of OFWs deployed dropped to about 600,000. As of October 2021, only 66,545 OFWs went abroad.